Education A National Roundup

Families Accuse Illinois District of Discrimination in Redistricting

By Sean Cavanagh — February 15, 2005 1 min read

Three families are suing a suburban Chicago district in federal court, arguing that a redistricting plan implemented this school year discriminates against students with limited English proficiency—particularly Hispanics—as well as other minorities.

The plaintiffs contend that the redistricting initiative undertaken by the U-46 district in Elgin, Ill., west of Chicago, unfairly forces certain students to remain in classes serving students with limited proficiency in English, because the plan has resulted in insufficient seats in regular education classes at various schools.

Filed in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, the lawsuit also alleges that the 40,000-student district is forcing families either to send their children to schools outside their neighborhoods to receive services for English-language learners or to give up those services entirely.

Patrick J. Broncato, the U-46 district’s chief legal officer, said that the plan was not discriminatory, and that district officials had not heard widespread complaints from parents about it. The district’s boundary changes have allowed more students to attend neighborhood schools, he said, which requires them to spend less time on buses.

A version of this article appeared in the February 16, 2005 edition of Education Week