An Illinois judge restored the status of a private suburban Christian school whose recognition was recently revoked by the State Board of Education for refusing to follow Governor JB Pritzker’s school mask tenure.
Earlier this week, Kendall County Judge Stephen Krentz ordered the Illinois Board of Education to temporarily re-establish Parkview Christian Academy in Yorkville, which is on a list of private schools in the ‘Illinois who recently lost their status for flouting the governor’s decree.
ISBE Superintendent Carmen Ayala warned that failure to comply with the state’s mask mandate would result in the removal of “recognized private school status from a private school, with immediate effect.”
The court ruling, which granted Parkview a temporary injunction while the trial continues, was immediately applauded by Republican members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, which called revocations without a hearing or probationary period an “undue push “.
“Public schools are placed on probation and have a set time frame to respond, but non-public schools do not receive the same consideration,” Republican Senator John Curran of Downers Grove said in a statement on Friday.
“It’s not about masks; it’s about process. We need to make sure that all schools and students are treated equally and fairly, and that the results of school recognition do not depend on which school a child attends, ”Curran said.
Parkview was stripped of his recognition the same day he received the ISBE notification of breaching Pritzker’s mask mandate, Curran said.
“You can’t force non-public schools to a different level than public schools – it’s just not fair to these students,” Republican Senator Donald DeWitte of St. Charles said in a statement Friday.
Pritzker spokesman Jordan Abudayyeh said the Kendall County decision will not affect how the ISBE approaches the application of the mandate, saying that “there is no reason why the Non-public or public schools ignore common sense public health guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and medical professionals.
The board “has followed the disciplinary process provided for by the rule for private and public schools,” she said in a statement. “Respecting the state’s mask mandate helps keep students and teachers safe, helps reduce community transmission of COVID-19, and allows schools – both non-public and public – to avoid the consequences non-compliance with public health requirements. “
ISBE officials were not immediately available for comment on Friday.
ISBE officials last month said public school districts that lose recognition lose access to state funding and the ability to participate in sports sanctioned by the Illinois High School Association and Illinois. Elementary School Association.
Officials said the board had the regulatory power to reduce the recognition status of any school district with “impairments that present a danger to health or a danger to students or staff.”
Public school districts refusing to follow the mask’s mandate are first put on probation and then asked to schedule a conference to discuss compliance issues, with the district required to submit a plan within 60 days.
If no plan is submitted or approved, the ISBE can change the status of the affected district or schools to “unrecognized,” they said.
Private schools follow a different regulatory process that allows the state to immediately change a school’s status to unrecognized without a probationary period “in cases where the state superintendent determines that there is an emergency. in a school, ”officials said.
In his ruling, Krentz aimed at the separate standards, saying that “the guidelines and procedures for recognizing non-public schools may necessarily be different from the guidelines for recognizing public schools, but they may not be onerous.”
“Parkview raised a fair question in this regard,” he wrote.
Dan Petrella and Tracy Swartz of the Chicago Tribune contributed.