EL PASO-GRIDLEY, Ill. (WMBD) — A Woodford County school district is moving forward with a lawsuit against the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

The El Paso-Gridley CUSD 11 school board voted Monday night to move forward with litigation against the ISBE and state superintendent over the state’s COVID-19 mandates.

Superintendent Brian Kurz said the lawsuit looks to define how much power the state has when it comes to forcing school districts to comply with state rules or risk losing their recognition status and funding.

Kurz said the local school board was elected to make those decisions for the community stakeholders themselves. He said the local elected officials know more about the district’s wants and needs than those at a state level.

“They’re the people that community members have asked to make decisions on behalf of the education of their children and so that’s what we’re advocating for, we feel like we have a strong case and we’ll leave it to the courts to decide,” Kurz said.

El Paso-Gridley joins other area schools Eureka and Morton as part of this lawsuit. The districts are filing these lawsuits separately with their attorneys.

Leaders at all districts believe the state is abusing its powers by forcing districts to comply and threaten them if they choose not to.