A federal judge sided with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Tuesday and rejected a request for an emergency injunction to stop Lyman Trumbull Elementary from closing.
Parents of students at Trumbull filed a lawsuit in June looking to prevent the school from closing. Trumbull, located on the North Side in Andersonville, is one of 50 schools
the Chicago Board of Education voted to close back in May due to the
district's reported underutilization crisis.
alleged that the school's closing discriminates against its large
population of students with special needs. Chappell, McCutcheon and
McPherson are Trumbull's designated welcoming schools. According to the
plaintiffs, none of the students in the special needs cluster program
were sent to Chappell, a top school, and the only school that meets
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines is McPherson.
According Judge Gary Feinerman, an emergency injunction would be burdensome for CPS, as the
cash-strapped district would have to reorganize funds that have already
been promised for other uses. An injunction, according to the judge,
would lead to more harm to CPS and the public overall than what the plaintiff's may face
due to Trumbull's closing.
“The most significant determinant is the
quality of the receiving school and the continuity of services,”
Feinerman said. The judge added that Chappell, McCutcheon and McPherson have been doing an “exemplary job” getting ready to receive Trumbull students.
The judge also noted that the potential harm students at Trumbull might run into when moving to one of the designated welcoming schools is “not as great as feared by parents.”
case still has a chance of going to trial, however. The suit also charges that the utilization calculations done by CPS discriminated against schools with a large group of special education students.
federal judge is expected to take up two additional federal lawsuits seeking
a preliminary injunction to stop the 50 neighborhood
schools from closing down. Late last month, a Cook County judge denied a motion to stop 10 school closings as part of a separate lawsuit filed by the Chicago Teachers Union.