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Legal battle continues over Richmond-Davis merger in St. Charles

ST. CHARLES – The legal battle against St. Charles School District 303 over its reconfiguration of two elementary schools is expected to resume in court today – and with considerably fewer plaintiffs.

A group of 17 parents filed the lawsuit in 2011, weeks after the school board approved a now-implemented plan for Davis and Richmond elementary schools.

Davis became a K-2 school, and Richmond – which had repeatedly failed to meet academic standards – became a school for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders.

Richmond also adopted other changes, including a longer school day, foreign language offerings and the use of iPads.

The parents allege District 303 acted illegally and in contradiction of Illinois School Code regulations.

“[The district] circumvented the law and forced children to attend a failing school in order to avoid major restructuring,” according to a trial memorandum the plaintiffs filed Tuesday. “Essentially, [D-303] pooled the schools in order to dilute the test results.”

In the memorandum, the plaintiffs assert that Davis and Richmond elementary schools should be reinstated as they were before the plan’s implementation.

A bench trial was scheduled to start today.

Judge David Akemann also was expected to consider a motion by the district that seeks to dismiss a plaintiff because he no longer lives within the district, according to Kane County court records.

“He has no remaining interest in this controversy and cannot obtain any effectual relief,” the motion states, calling the matter moot.

If granted, the district’s motion would reduce the number of plaintiffs to one.

All but two plaintiffs were dismissed from the lawsuit in June.

Their attorney, Timothy Dwyer, said he asked for the dismissal after the district requested discovery from each plaintiff.

“It was completely unnecessary, so we whittled it down to two plaintiffs,” he said. “There’s no real discovery from any of the plaintiffs.”

Having even fewer plaintiffs shouldn’t affect the case, Dwyer said.

“If you have one plaintiff or 100,000, the issues are all the same,” Dwyer said. “It’s just more legal maneuvering.”

An attorney representing District 303 did not have further comment.

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