District 39 Referendum Lawsuit May Head to State's Top Court

Taxpayers United of America has filed a petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.

A legal appeal challenging the wording of ’s successful tax-hike referendum may head to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Taxpayers United of America (TUA), the group that filed the original lawsuit in May 2011, is challenging the First District Appellate Court’s decision to dismiss TUA’s appeal in April

District 39 has two weeks to respond to the filing. The Illinois Supreme Court will then decide whether to accept the appeal. 

“We are certainly disappointed that TUA was again unwilling to abide by the decision of the Appellate Court. This petition to the Illinois Supreme Court will cause the District to spend additional dollars in legal fees that should be used for the education of children in our community,” Karen Donnan, president of District 39 Board Education said in a statement. 

The district has spent almost $48,000 to date in defense of this lawsuit, according to Donnan. 

“This case has been a drain on district resources for more than a year,” Donnan said in the statement. “I sincerely hope this concludes quickly so District 39 can focus its resources and attention where it belongs, on our students.” 

The  filed by Wilmette resident Herbet Sorock and TUA alleged that language appearing on the tax-hike referendum misled voters. . Sorock and TUA filed an appeal in July 2011 and the case was combined with a similar TUA lawsuit against Oak Park School District 97. Both appeals were dismissed March 15, and a motion to reinstate the cases was rejected April 11

Sorock is not participating in the current petition before the Illinois Supreme Court, according to Wilmette Public Schools District 39’s press release.

A PDF of the petition for leave to appeal and the Illinois Supreme Court's letter allowing the petition can be found on the right. 

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GrossPoint June 12, 2012 at 03:03 PM
While this lawsuit seems like flogging a dead horse, a more professional school administration might consider using standard English and Math in wording their proposals. If the administration thinks it is OK to use deliberately misleading information to win a vote, I wonder how many other things they are misleading us about?
Quis Custodiet June 12, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Herb Sorock must have gotten tired of losing every single motion and argument along the way in this frivolous tilt, because the article says he is no longer participating. As a result, the lawsuit Herb Sorock initiated is now being controlled by a group of Sorock's cohorts that has no ties to Wilmette whatsoever, and a plaintif's lawyer who is in the process of having his license suspended for unethical conduct. The company you keep.
SBG June 12, 2012 at 09:35 PM
The administration used the language they were legally required to use. Which is why this keeps getting thrown out.
GrossPoint June 12, 2012 at 09:40 PM
"The administration used the language they were legally required to use" is a blatant falsehood. They were allowed to use this, but could have used standard English and accurate Arithmetic. It keeps getting thrown out because the State does not require standard English and Arithmetic on ballot questions. Rather, the School Districts have been allowed to use their (awful) discretion on how to word these things, with the predictable results. In many States (NOT ILLINOIS) it might seems odd that the State has proposed more than a few times that School Districts stop misleading voters, that is use standard English and Arithmetic, but it gets voted down in favor of continuing the fleecing of the voters and taxpayers.
SBG June 12, 2012 at 11:10 PM
OK, I stand corrected...sort of. They used the language they were advised to use by a law firm that is "instrumental in crafting ballot language for referenda across Cook County." My point is merely that I don't think it's fair to accuse District 39 of deliberate misleading. I do believe they tried very hard in the materials made available to the public before the election to explain the details of what the referendum would mean to every taxpayer using language that everyone could understand. Math and English, as you say.
GrossPoint June 12, 2012 at 11:34 PM
In a functioning Democracy, it is common practice to put ballot questions before the voters that accurately state the subject under consideration. District 39 chose to do otherwise, as the Superintendent was actively campaigning (see Lechner's yes! yes! we did it! email after the vote for example) for the referendum, in direct contradiction to his being paid by all the taxpayers in D39, not just one side or another. Look SBG, unethical behavior and self-dealing is enshrined in marble and worshiped in Cook County, and I understand that but still oppose it. I don't see any reason to tell our kids that this is the way that elections should be held, just because the Board and Superintendent hold one view on an issue or another, does not give them permission to mislead the voters. I don't want the ballot wording to be off by 300% in either direction. Just put the real numbers up there, and let the voters decide.
Quis Custodiet July 20, 2012 at 04:07 PM
While TUA keeps hammering away in its interloping appeal before the Supreme Court, Herb Sorock has lost yet another set of arguments in yet another lawsuit he filed against the group of Wilmette volunteer neighbors who supported the School referendum. Herb Sorock plans to appeal THAT losing lawsuit up to the Supreme Court. In that other case, a hearing office and the state Board of Elections found that Herb Sorock’s suit “lacked justifiable grounds”. And the State Appellate Court found that Herb Sorock’s attack on the volunteer citizens group would “seriously infringe on privacy of association and belief guaranteed by the First Amendment”. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=sorock%20citizens%20wilmette%20schools%20volunteers&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CEwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.state.il.us%2Fcourt%2Fopinions%2FAppellateCourt%2F2012%2F1stDistrict%2F1112740.pdf&ei=PXgJUOirIeew0AGhiamBBA&usg=AFQjCNEJghQJcqdH2VnFVBl2FGZ51e3OWw
Quis Custodiet May 21, 2013 at 09:00 PM
Epilogue: The attorney that Herb Sorock chose to wage his legal tilt against Wilmette schools has now been suspended from the practice of law for misconduct (unrelated to the the D39 case).


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