Nearly 12 years of litigation stemming from a mold outbreak at St. Charles East High School in 2001 might be over as school board members recently cut a $660,000 check to the lone party still seeking resolution.
All the students and parents involved in the outbreak reached closure many years ago. But St. Charles Unit District 303 has been in court with the Illinois School District Agency since 2003.
The agency was one of several organizations the district had insurance through at the time of the mold outbreak. Because of the overlapping policies, the agency believed some of the money it paid out to the district was more than necessary to pay all the litigation costs.
As of a year ago, the agency believed it was owed more than $2.2 million in both overpaid claims and legal fees associated with trying to get the money back from the school district.
District 303 staff members have always said insurance payouts covered less than one-third of the costs associated with the mold. Despite that, a Cook County circuit court judge ruled at the end of July that the district owed the agency $660,000 plus legal filing fees and interest.
The fees and interest amounted, approximately, to an additional $3,000. The school district wrote that check to the agency last week.
It's not clear if that check will ever be cashed. District officials have tried to settle the legal battle twice before but could not come to terms with the agency. The school district's former chief financial officer said last year he didn't believe the case would settle for any amount less than $1 million.
The agency has 30 days from the judge's ruling to file an appeal. If the agency appeals, the school district will likely file a cross appeal, said Superintendent Don Schlomann.
"I'm genuinely hopeful that this is all over," Schlomann said. "However, we have not received any indication yet that this is the end."