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Schlomann testifies in school merger trial

Published: Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – Even after testifying for nearly two hours Wednesday, St. Charles School District 303 Superintendent Don Schlomann is expected to take the stand today, making him the last witness in a trial about the reconfiguration of two elementary schools.

Presided by Judge David Akemann, the bench trial is about the legality of the district’s now-implemented plan to merge Davis and Richmond elementary schools’ attendance areas and make them into K-2 and 3-5 schools, respectively.

Richmond – which repeatedly missed academic benchmarks before the merger – had its adequate yearly progress status “rolled back” after the reconfiguration.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Timothy Dwyer, has asserted that circumvented No Child Left Behind regulations.

Schlomann, who was called to the stand Wednesday by the plaintiffs as an adverse witness, said the district did not consider Richmond’s AYP status until after the school board voted on the reconfiguration plan.

Schlomann disagreed with Dwyer’s characterization that Richmond’s failure of AYP was the plan’s catalyst.

“I don’t want to get into semantics,” Schlomann said, launching into the events that led to the plan.

Richmond’s AYP status led to the school offering choice, which resulted in students leaving, he said.

That created a facility issue the district needed to address, he said.

“The regulations are the regulations,” Schlomann said. “…They created a facilities problem I didn’t have to live with.”

Dwyer asked him whether he ever told the school board that the plan could not only take care of a facilities issue, but also Richmond’s AYP status.

“I definitely did not communicate that,” Schlomann said.

Because only schools that use Title I money are subject to sanctions under NCLB, District 303 attorney Rob Swain asked Schlomann why he didn’t divert Title I funds from Richmond and Davis to avoid the consequences of not making AYP.

“That would have been game playing,” Schlomann said. “It would have felt immoral.”

Swain is expected to call Schlomann to the stand today as his last witness.

Dwyer said Wednesday that the plaintiffs rest.

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