Dist 117 Continues to “Stay in Our Lane” as Court Ruling Could Come Next Week

By Benjamin Cox on January 21, 2022 at 11:31am

A Sangamon County court ruling on a suit against 145 schools across Central Illinois for the state’s mask mandate and Covid-19 exclusion policies likely won’t come until next week, and Jacksonville School District 117 isn’t planning on signing on if there is an appeal.

Sangamon County Judge Raylene Grischow took under advisement competing arguments on the lawsuit before dismissing the hearing today. The lawsuit names many school districts in the listening area, including Jacksonville School District 117.

The District 117 School Board discussed a matter related to the suit in open meeting last night. Superintendent of Schools Steve Ptacek was contacted recently by legal council asking if the District would be willing to join in on an appeal if the ruling is found in favor of the plaintiffs. Ptacek says after discussion, District 117 will continue its stance of staying in its own lane.

We were asked- and this is no statement on whether the TRO will be issued or not, just that general preparation, that if the District were in a situation to sign on to join the appeal, would we? And I wanted to talk with the board about that, and I think we have decided that the letter that I gave out to the Governor’s Office about vaccination testing earlier was basically summed up with, we don’t feel the District should be speeding taxpayer money to facilitate lawsuits for a state mandate.

At this point in time the Governor, and the Attorney General’s Office is representing him, is included in this lawsuit. So the Board agrees with me that if the TRO is issued, and if there is an appeal, that should come through the Governor’s Office and the Attorney General. Our stance is we follow protocol, we’re not making the decision on what is proper protocol.”

Judge Grischow said in the courtroom today due to scheduling and the length of review necessary, she wouldn’t issue a ruling in the case before next Friday.

Jeremy Coumbes also contributed to this story.