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Parents appeal judge’s order in Richmond-Davis case

Published: Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 8:39 a.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – The parents who brought a lawsuit against St. Charles School District 303 over the reconfiguration of Davis and Richmond schools are appealing a judge’s refusal to undo the merger.

“We think the remedy’s incorrect,” Tim Dwyer, attorney for the parents, said Friday.

Dwyer said his clients want Davis and Richmond to return as they were before District 303 converted them in 2011 into K-2 and 3-5 schools, respectively.

Kane County Circuit Judge David R. Akemann rejected that request in a Sept. 18 ruling. Instead, he ordered District 303 to “perform its mandated functions” in crafting a school improvement plan for Richmond and Davis students under the guidelines of No Child Left Behind.

A group of parents alleged District 303 circumvented No Child Left Behind regulations when it reconfigured the schools.

Akemann ruled in favor of the parents following a bench trial that was held in July.

District 303 Superintendent Don Schlomann said Friday that the parents’ decision to appeal was not completely unexpected.

“While we regret that the district must continue to spend its time and resources defending itself on a matter that has been decided by the courts not once, but twice, we are preparing to defend the [school] board’s decision on appeal,” he said.

“Of course,” he added, “we will also take appropriate steps to ensure that the Appellate Court understands the full perspective of the issues and implications of the plaintiffs’ request.”

Since the case began, District 303 has incurred $316,945.49 in legal fees through Aug. 31, according to the district. Of that amount, the district reported, about $75,684 has been covered by insurance.

District spokesman Jim Blaney said in an email that legal fees can be paid by the education fund and the tort fund.

The 2013-14 budget includes $160,000 in the education fund and $25,000 in the tort fund for attorney’s fees, he said.

District 303 is working to develop implementation plans to present to the court for approval, Schlomann said.

He noted the plans include increased parental participation in school planning and additional support to underperforming students.

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