Does state law require public schools to be "open to all"?
Does state law mandate "equality of educational opportunity"?
Do the courts recognize education as a fundamental right?
Art. X § 1. A fundamental goal of the People of the State is the educational development of all persons to the limits of their capacities.The State shall provide for an efficient system of high quality public educational institutions and services. Education in public schools through the secondary level shall be free.There may be such other free education as the General Assembly provides by law.The State has the primary responsibility for financing the system of public education.
In Illinois, a challenge to attendance zones would focus on highly segregated schools like Lincoln Elementary and Manierre Elementary. State law (ilcs Chap. 105 §10-21.3) requires the district to redraw lines to reduce racial segregation.In the OldTown neighborhood of the Chicago Public Schools, there is substantial evidence that the district has gone to great lengths to avoid redrawing the zones in a way that would reduce segregation. Chicago Public Schools even went so far as to approve a $19 million addition to the Lincoln Elementary facility, so that students in the Lincoln attendance zone would not be reassigned to empty class- room seats in Manierre.
§10-21.3a of ilcs Chap. 105 requires districts to establish a policy for allowing a student to transfer to another attendance zone but only if space is available.
State Law Establishing Attendance Zones
ilcs Chap. 105 §10-21.3 requires school districts to periodically re-draw attendance boundaries “in a manner which will take into consideration the prevention of segregation and the elimination of separation of children in public schools because of color, race or nationality.”
State Law Criminalizing Use Of Incorrect Address
ilcs Chap. 105 §10-20.12b states that a person who enrolls a student in a district of which the student is not a resident can be held liable for back tuition if the student attended on a tuition-free basis.
Charter School Admissions
ilcs Chap. 105 § 27A-4 establishes that charter schools must use a lottery to enroll students if applications exceed capacity. However, in cities with population over 500,000 (i.e., only in Chicago), the school may give priority to students residing within an attendance boundary designated by the board of education.