Less than 10 days after the Chicago Board of Education filed its lawsuit, the Chicago Urban League settled a case based on similar legal claims with the Illinois State Board of Education. The Urban League settlement is not binding on the Chicago Board of Education and has no legal bearing on the city’s recently filed lawsuit. The Chicago Urban League case, which had been filed in 2008, claimed that the state education finance system has the effect of providing substantially lower dollar amounts per student in “majority-minority” school districts, not only in Chicago, but in many other parts of the state. Two other Illinois urban leagues had joined the Chicago Urban League as plaintiffs in this case.
Under the settlement, the state board will no longer distribute cuts in state aid on an across-the-board basis whenever lawmakers fail to fully fund public education. Instead, the state board must hold a hearing and determine which districts can least afford pro-rated funding, based on a district’s needs and resources. All 100% of general state aid was paid this school year, but it fell below 95 % in every year since 2012. This settlement does not deal with whether the amounts that the legislature considers full funding are, in fact, adequate to meet student needs.