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updated: 4/3/2013 2:16 PM

U-46 discrimination case may continue until summer

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Judge Robert Gettleman has hundreds of pages of post-trial documents to read before deciding whether Elgin Area School District U-46 did, in fact, discriminate against black and Latino students.

And he may bring attorneys for both sides into court for additional oral arguments to answer remaining questions.

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The class-action lawsuit, which dates to 2005, alleges the district discriminated against minorities by sending them to inferior schools after it redrew school boundaries. It also accuses the district of discrimination in the way it runs its bilingual and gifted programs.

Patricia Whitten, an attorney representing the district, said Gettleman may not rule until summer.

So far, U-46 has spent more than $18 million defending itself against the suit, according to a cost summary from the district.

Attorneys representing the plaintiffs filed a post-trial brief in December to which the district replied in late January. The plaintiffs have since filed another lengthy reply and Gettleman denied the district's request to get a last word in during a March 19 hearing.

In the post-trial documents, the district argued the plaintiffs didn't prove their claims and that, in reality, the district has diverse, integrated schools, has increased participation by black and Latino students in its gifted program and runs an effective program for English Language Learners.

The brief also argued that the individuals suing U-46 did not prove they were personally harmed by any of the policies and didn't have the legal right to bring forth the suit -- a claim the plaintiff's attorneys deny in their reply.

Gettleman will be the one to decide who made the more compelling case.

Attorneys on both sides now are waiting to find out whether the judge asks for another court appearance before making his ruling.

Stewart Weltman, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, said there are many variables that go into cases like this and he does not know when the community can expect to hear a decision.

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