EUREKA, Ill. (WMBD) — A central Illinois school district is moving forward with a lawsuit against the state.
Eureka’s school district board voted Tuesday night to sue the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the state superintendent.
The lawsuit challenges the state’s authority to withdraw recognition status and funding if local school boards refuse to comply with the state board’s COVID-19 mandates.
The state requires all students, staff, and teachers to wear their masks full time, and staff must be vaccinated or get tested for the virus weekly. In August, the state forced local school boards to comply with state rules or lose accreditation.
School officials in Eureka Community Schools said Illinois’ current COVID-19 mandates aren’t what’s best for kids. Board President Chad Leman said mandates have had effects on kids’ mental health and have affected the community.
Leman said the state’s one-size-fits-all approach takes away power from locally elected school boards that are voted into office to make decisions for their communities.
“We really disagree with that approach and feel that it’s hurting our kids. It’s hurt our community, and we believe we were elected to speak for our community and that’s what we want to do again,” Leman said.
He said the goal of the lawsuit is to determine how much power the ISBE actually has.
“The fact they are threatening our recognition status, we believe, is a gross overreach. We feel free we have a strong case, [and] our attorney feels we have a strong case, and we wouldn’t have voted to go forward as a board if we felt we wouldn’t be successful,” Leman said.
Similarly, Morton schools are also going forward with litigation against the state.