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Parents file class-action suit against District 303

ST. CHARLES – Parents who sued St. Charles School District 303 over the reconfiguration of two elementary schools are now bringing a class-action suit against the school system.

The parents are bringing the action on behalf of themselves and the families affected by the district's decision in 2011 to restructure Richmond and Davis elementary schools, according to the class-action complaint filed Oct. 10 with the Kane County Circuit Clerk's Office.

"Plaintiffs were either forced to relocate at great expense, move their children into private institutions at great expense, or have their children attend a failing school against their wishes at a very great expense," the complaint states.

According to the complaint, at least 500 families were affected and as many as 1,500 families might be eligible for the class action.

The parents are asking for compensatory damages, attorney's fees and costs, and whatever further relief the court deems just. Court documents indicate the amount claimed is $50,000.

District 303 Superintendent Don Schlomann said in a statement that the additional legal actions were not completely unexpected.

"While we regret that the district must continue to spend time and resources defending itself on a matter that has been decided by the courts not once, but twice, we will do so to protect both the reputation and the financial stability of our district," Schlomann said.

The class-action suit follows Kane County Circuit Judge David R. Akemann's ruling that, while the reconfiguration was not in and of itself unlawful, the district did not provide a corrective action plan as required by law.

Akemann ordered the district to craft a school improvement plan for Richmond and Davis students under the guidelines of No Child Left Behind.

"The court identified specific procedural steps District 303 must take, and we are already well on our way to developing implementation plans to present to the court for approval," Schlomann said.

The parents have appealed Akemann's refusal to undo the merger. Tim Dwyer, the attorney representing the parents, said the appeal process is pending. He criticized the district's press releases on the ongoing legal issues.

"The fact of the matter is they're trying to argue this in the press," Dwyer said. "They're trying to justify their position. Anyone who really knows what's going on can see right through it."

A case management conference is set for Dec. 26.

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