Attorneys working to avoid appeal in U-46 discrimination case
By Tara Garcia Mathewson
Attorneys on both sides of a discrimination case against Elgin Area School District U-46 spent almost an hour in the presiding judge’s chambers Thursday discussing ways to resolve the matter without resorting to an appeal.
The content of that conversation was closed to the public and the media.
Judge Robert Gettleman ruled in favor of U-46 on two out of the three main questions in the case but said the district discriminated against Latino students when it placed them in a separate, segregated gifted program. The district’s attorneys already have been discussing appeal options with school board members since Gettleman’s decision was released July 11.
But, returning to open court from his chambers Thursday, Gettleman said the goal would be to avoid that.
“I’m hopeful that we can resolve the remaining issues without further expenditure of time and resources,” Gettleman said. He said he hopes to have the issues he raised with the gifted program addressed by the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.
The closed-door conversation among attorneys amounted to settlement discussions. Settlement was put on the table several times since the 2005 case was filed and even before it came to that. A successful settlement at this stage would mean avoiding additional phases of costly litigation.
Of course, if settlement discussions break down, both sides will return to open court to argue the case further.
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