About 16 years ago, a group of disabled students sued the Illinois State Board of Education. Among other things, the students claimed the Chicago Public School System, for which the State Board allegedly was responsible, improperly assigned disabled students to schools and classrooms solely according to their disability classification. That practice, the students argued, violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
The State Board of Education signed a consent decree with the students. The decree (1) provided for appointment of a Monitor to oversee implementation of the order; (2) extended the Federal District Court’s jurisdiction to oversee the consent order.
The Monitor ruled that no Chicago public school could have more than 20 percent students with disabilities. But when the deadline for the Monitor’s rule arrived, there were 96 schools that did not meet the requirement. The Chicago School Board asked for a waiver of the rule, but supplied no information supporting the request. Nor had the Monitor set criteria for a waiver.