GENEVA – A judge has ruled in favor of the parents in the Richmond-Davis legal battle against St. Charles School District 303 over its reconfiguration of two elementary schools.
Attorney Timothy Dwyer, representing the plaintiffs, confirmed Sunday that Kane County Judge David Akemann issued his ruling late Friday, finding for the parents.
In 2011, 17 parents sued, alleging that District 303 acted illegally and in contradiction of Illinois School Code regulations to have Davis become a K-2 school and Richmond, a school for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders. The number of plaintiffs was reduced to two during the course of the case, which was heard in a bench trial last month.
The 22-page decision was not immediately available this weekend, but Dwyer said Akemann adopted nearly all of an opinion and order he wrote as requested by Akemann from both sides.
"Our opinions and orders were 360-degrees apart," Dwyer said. "The judge adopted maybe 95 percent of mine. The judge specifically found the administration not to be credible."
Jim Blaney, spokesman for District 303, said officials were not aware that a verdict was in.
"I'm happy," said school board member Ed McNally. "This vindicates the parents who brought the suit. This vindicates the parents who – all along – indicated there were problems with the process at the school. And frankly, when you look at the scores that came out of Richmond-Davis for 2013, the gap has widened between Richmond-Davis and the rest of the district …. We are performing less well. That shows this plan was an abject failure."
McNally said the school board will have to look at a few issues regarding the reconfiguration of the schools – including Superintendent Don Schlomann.
"It is a reflection on Schlomann – he was the one who walked us into disaster," McNally said. "This is a reflection of his leadership."
McNally said Schlomann ultimately is responsible because no one listened to parents who resisted the plan and predicted problems with test scores and the logistics of the two school plans.
"The scores themselves are a reflection of their poor education relative to the rest of the district," McNally said.
Voicemail messages left for school officials were not immediately returned Sunday. A text message sent to Schlomann, who is away on vacation, was not immediately returned.