Chicago school board sues Department of Education, alleging $4 million penalty over sexual abuse problems was unlawful

December 1, 2018

The Chicago Board of Education sued the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos in federal court for revoking millions of grant dollars over the school district’s alleged failures to protect students from sexual violence.

The Chicago Board of Education sued the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos in federal court on Friday for revoking millions of grant dollars over the school district’s alleged failures to protect students from sexual violence.

Alleging a “radical departure” from past government practice, the district’s lawsuit said federal authorities unlawfully halted a $4 million payment meant to help transform three neighborhood Chicago Public Schools campuses into citywide magnet programs.

According to the district’s lawsuit, federal authorities denied the district an opportunity to dispute the halted funding, offered CPS no justification for the move and did not comply with procedural requirements before setting out the decision.

“Chicago Public Schools is filing suit in an effort to restore millions of dollars in funding that was abruptly and unlawfully taken from low-income students without providing the district with the opportunity to appeal the decision,” CPS spokeswoman Emily Bolton said in a statement. “The district has made, and will continue to make, significant improvements to how it prevents and responds to allegations of abuse and, even more importantly, how it supports victims.”