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Donovan v. Community Unit School District 303

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

July 16, 2015

JIM DONOVAN and STEVEN SCHULZE, Individually and in Representative Capacity of All Those Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT 303, Defendant-Appellee

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 13-L-510. Honorable James R. Murphy, Judge, Presiding.

Timothy P. Dwyer, of Law Offices of Timothy P. Dwyer, of St. Charles, for appellants.

Stanley B. Eisenhammer and Jennifer A. Mueller, both of Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn, LLP, of Arlington Heights, for appellee.

Jorgensen and Spence, Justices concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

Page 314

McLAREN, JUSTICE.

[¶1] Plaintiffs, Jim Donovan and Steven Schulze, individually and representing all those similarly situated, appeal the trial court's dismissal of their class action complaint against defendant, Community Unit

Page 315

School District 303. On appeal, plaintiffs argue that the trial court erred by dismissing their complaint because: (1) their complaint is not barred by the Illinois Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (Tort Immunity Act) (745 ILCS 10/1-101 et seq. (West 2010)); and (2) their complaint sufficiently alleged an implied private cause of action. We affirm.

[¶2] I. BACKGROUND

[¶3] This case involves the reorganization of two schools, Davis Elementary and Richmond Elementary, that, prior to the 2011-12 school year, both served students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Plaintiffs are parents of students who originally attended Davis. Defendant is a school district organized under the Illinois School Code (105 ILCS 5/1-1 et seq. (West 2010)). Beginning in the 2011-12 school year, defendant reconfigured the two schools so that Davis served students in kindergarten through second grade and Richmond served students in third grade through fifth grade (2011 Plan).

[¶4] The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) (20 U.S.C. § 6301 et seq. (Supp. I 2001)) required states to establish and enforce learning standards and to achieve adequate yearly progress (AYP) toward those standards, as measured by federally approved standardized tests. See 20 U.S.C. § 6311 (Supp. II 2002). To comply with the NCLB, the Illinois General Assembly amended sections of, and added sections to, the School Code (105 ILCS 5/1-1 et seq. (West 2010)). Most notably, Public Act 93-470, § 5 (eff. Aug. 8, 2003), significantly amended section 2-3.25d of the School Code (105 ILCS 5/2-3.25d (West 2010)). Section 2-3.25d(a) provides that a school that fails to make AYP for two consecutive years is placed on " academic early warning status for the next school year." 105 ILCS 5/2-3.25d(a) (West 2010).

[¶5] For four consecutive school years, 2007-08 through 2010-11, Richmond failed to achieve AYP. Once Richmond failed to make AYP for the second consecutive school year, 2008-09, defendant developed a School Improvement Plan (SIP) for Richmond in 2009-10. Defendant was required to notify the parents of Richmond students of the AYP issue and to offer those parents the option to enroll their children in higher-performing schools within the district (this option is known as " choice" ). By the following school year, 2010-11, 117 Richmond students had transferred to other schools in the district, and the enrollment at Davis had increased by 19 students. Davis had achieved AYP every school year prior to 2010-11.

[¶6] The 2011 Plan reconfigured Richmond and Davis from two independent elementary schools, each serving students in kindergarten through fifth grade, into interdependent elementary schools, with Davis serving students in kindergarten through second grade and Richmond serving students in third grade through fifth grade. After the fall of 2011, the parents of Richmond students could no longer ...


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