Urban League Challenges Illinois School Funding

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Poor schools in Illinois suffer the nation's second-largest funding gap with wealthy districts because of the state's unconstitutional school funding formula that disparately hurt black and Latino students, the Chicago Urban League claims in Cook County Court.

As a result, poor and minority students face financial crises that force them into larger classes in poorly maintained facilities; programs for music, arts and sports have been slashed; and students are denied a "high quality" elementary and secondary education guaranteed under the Illinois Constitution, the complaint states.

Despite its great capacity for raising revenue and its obligations under the Illinois Constitution to take "primary responsibility" for school funding, the State over-relies on local property taxes to finance schools, states the complaint against the State of Illinois and the State Board of Education.

Plaintiffs, the Chicago Urban League and the Quad County Urban League, are represented by Lisa Scruggs with Jenner & Block.

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