On May 11, 1989, black and Hispanic public school students from Winnebago County, Illinois filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against the Rockford Board of Education in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs, represented by People Who Care, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that their constitutional rights had been violated by racial discrimination in the assignment of schools and classes to students in their school district.
On July 7, 1989, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Judge Stanley Julian Roszkowski) issued an Interim Agreed Order, governing the placement of students in particular schools within the District, the different types of classes that would be offered in each school, which schools would remain operational, and what types of academic entrance restrictions would be allowed for magnet schools. On December 15, 1989, the Court made the order permanent. People Who Care v. Rockford Bd. of Educ. Dist., No.89 C 20168, 1989 WL 197569 (N.D.Ill. Dec. 15, 1989).
The plaintiffs asked the court to award them attorneys' fees and costs for their work to bring about the court order. On February 23, 1990, the District Court (Judge Roszkowski) granted the plaintiffs $112,935.50 in attorneys' fees and $14,765.54 in costs. People Who Care v. Rockford Bd. of Educ. Dist., No.89 C 20168, 1990 WL 25883 (N.D.Ill. Feb. 23, 1990). The defendants asked the court to reconsider the award of fees and costs, and on April 10, 1990, the District Court denied the motion to reconsider. People Who Care v. Rockford Bd. of Educ. Dist., No.89 C 20168, 1990 WL 53282 (N.D.Ill. April 10, 1990). The defendants appealed. On January 2, 1991, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit dismissed the appeal. People Who Care v. Rockford Bd. of Educ. Dist., 921 F.2d 132 (7th Cir. 1991).
On January 14, 1991, the District Court appointed Dr. Eugene Eubanks to serve as Special Master in the case. Dr. Eubanks was charged with evaluating the District's compliance with the 1989 Interim Agreed Order and directed to make recommendations to the Court for further remedial measures. People Who Care v. Rockford Bd. of Educ. Dist., 1991 WL 166960 (N.D.Ill. Jan. 14, 1991). [He also appears on a number of documents listed as if he was counsel for People Who Care -- this seems implausible, but we have listed him accordingly.]
Following the recommendations of Dr. Eubanks and with the consent of the parties, the District Court entered an extensive Second Interim Order on April 24, 2001 which detailed a comprehensive desegregation plan to be implemented in the District. The Second Interim Order addressed the following issues: racial integration, discipline procedures, recruitment, management, staff assignments, facilities, grading, alternative programs, transportation, supplemental programs for disadvantaged minority students, voluntary transfers, equipment, funding, vocational education, ROTC, and curriculum requirements. The Second Interim Order did not resolve the plaintiffs' underlying liability claim and the District made no admission of liability therein.
Teachers' unions, which were allowed to intervene in the case, objected to portions of the Second Interim Order which affected their collective bargaining rights. Following a hearing, the teachers' unions appealed. On April 22, 1992, the Seventh Circuit ordered the District Court to vacate those portions of the Second Interim Order that interfered with collective bargaining agreements. People Who Care v. Rockford Bd. of Educ. Dist., 961 F.2d 1335 (7th Cir. 1992) reh'g denied, 964 F.2d 639 (7th Cir. 1992).
On September 12, 1991, the District Court entered a preliminary order enjoining the school board election and compelling the plaintiffs and the defendants to engage in a joint effort with regard to election issues. People Who Care v. Rockford Bd. of Educ. Dist., 1991 WL 299104 (N.D.Ill. Sept. 12, 1991).
On January 31, 1992, the District Court ordered the defendants to institute a system-wide human relations program to address attitudes and expectations throughout the school system including staff development, training, and education programs. People Who Care v. Rockford Bd. of Educ. Dist., No. 89 C 20168, 1992 WL 184301 (N.D.Ill. Jan. 31, 1992).
On June 29, 1992, the District Court issued an order referring the case to Magistrate Judge P. Michael Mahoney for disposition of all pending motions. A hearing on plaintiffs' motion for a permanent injunction was conducted before Magistrate Judge Mahoney beginning on April 2, 2003. The parties agreed that the Magistrate Judge would make a Report and Recommendation to the District Court which would then rule upon the permanent injunction and liability issues. The parties further agreed that Magistrate Mahoney would oversee all past and future remedial measures. Magistrate Mahoney issued his Report and Recommendation finding intentional discrimination on the part of the District to which the District lodged objections.
On February 18, 1994, the District Court accepted and adopted as modified the Magistrate's Report and Recommendation, finding the defendants guilty of system-wide intentional discrimination in violation of the plaintiffs' constitutional rights. The District Court entered a permanent injunction and referred the case to Magistrate Mahoney for entry of further remedial measures. People Who Care v. Rockford Bd. of Educ. Dist., 851 F.Supp. 905 (N.D.Ill. 1994). The District did not appeal.
On August 31, 1995, the court disposed of all issues regarding fees and costs for liability litigation by awarding the plaintiffs $1,827,124.00 in fees and $198,342 in expenses. Both sides appealed the calculations made by the court. On August 1, 1996, the Seventh Circuit reversed the decision and remanded the fee award back to the district court. People Who Care v. Rockford Bd. of Educ. Dist., 90 F.3d 1307 (7th Cir. 1996).
On June 7, 1996, Magistrate Mahoney issued a Comprehensive Remedial Order [CRO], which provided for the changes in the following areas: desegregation of schools, within school integration, ability grouping, extra-curricular activities, human relations program, discipline code, curriculum and instruction, special education, community education, early childhood education, magnet schools, bilingual education, school-based planning, research and development, staff development, student participation and performance, student assignment, implementation and monitoring, organizational structure of the administration, transportation, personnel department, actions by District administration and board, disposition/acquisition of facilities, alteration of District boundaries, racial incidents, facilities and equipment, affirmative action, desegregation of teaching staff, financial impact, funding, and budgeting. People Who Care v. Rockford Bd. of Educ. Dist., No. 89-C-20168, 1996 WL 364802 (N.D.Ill. June 7, 1996). The defendants appealed.
On April 15, 1997, the Seventh Circuit affirmed in part, holding that the minority teacher hiring goals established by the CRO were inequitable and unconstitutional, that the provisions of the CRO generally forbidding grouping of students by ability and establishing racial quotas for those ability-related groupings permitted were inequitable, that the CRO's requirement that within four years half of the gap in test scores between white an minority students in the school district be closed was inequitable, that the provision of the CRO forbidding school district to refer a higher percentage of minority students than of white students for discipline was inequitable, that the provision of the CRO limiting minority enrollment in remedial programs constituted impermissible benign discrimination, that the provision of the CRO cutting off the remedy at the preschool level was arbitrary and therefore inequitable, that the District Court was justified in ordering the school district to use a method of financing the building program that would avoid displacing the state's taxing authority into the federal court system, and that the Magistrate Judge's procedural orders allowing the special master to play a party role in the hearing were not appealable. People Who Care v. Rockford Bd. of Educ. Dist., 111 F.3d 528 (7th Cir. June 7, 1997).
On August 11, 2000 Magistrate Mahoney modified parts of the CRO but denied the District's request to terminate it. People Who Care v. Rockford Bd. of Educ. Dist., No.89-C-20168, 2000 WL 1855107 (N.D.Ill. Aug. 11, 2000). The District appealed. On April 18, 2001, the Seventh Circuit reversed the District Court's denial of the termination and remanded the case, ordering that the CRO would be terminated since the consequences of segregation had been eliminated. People Who Care v. Rockford Bd. of Educ. Dist., 246 F.3d 1073 (7th Cir. 2001).
On June 29, 2001, Magistrate Mahoney ordered that the School District was relieved of all obligations under the CRO with the exception of providing certain educational and remedial advantages to the Plaintiff class through June 30, 2002. At that time, the CRO would be fully dissolved. People Who Care v. Rockford Bd. of Educ. Dist., No.89-C-20168, 2001 WL 755306 (N.D.Ill. June 29, 2001).
On June 28, 2002 Judge Mahoney issued a minute order declaring that full control of the School District would be returned to the Board of Education effective June 30, 2002, and that the case was dismissed with prejudice. Special Master Dr. Eugene Eubanks was relieved of all duties related to the case and all pending motions were denied as moot.Kristen Sagar - 02/05/2007