Oak Park Elementary School District 97 has taken legal action to bring all of the schools looking to separate from the Cicero Township Trustees of Schools, including Oak Park and River Forest High School, into one consolidated lawsuit.

Dist. 97 filed suit June 29. The suit names the township as a defendant, along with Berwyn School districts 98 and 100, Cicero District 99, and Morton High School District 201.

The suit also names Oak Park and River Forest High and the Cicero Township Treasurer as defendants.

OPRF filed a separate suit against Cicero Township in May. According to court documents, the OPRF suit is seeking to have the township transfer funds and other assets to OPRF. The suit also asks that the high school not be held liable for any accounting and auditing costs incurred in the process of dissolving the township treasurer’s office.

The treasurer’s office dissolved via a referendum passed in April in the Oak Park, Cicero and Berwyn elementary school districts, and must be disbanded by the end of the year. Assets were set to be transferred to the school districts this summer. The treasurer’s office is undergoing an independent audit.

District 97’s suit seeks to consolidate both cases under one umbrella.

The Dist. 97 suit, seeks to have funds and assets transferred to the Oak Park elementary school district.

The suit, however, asks that all of the school districts share, on a pro rata basis, in the costs to dissolve the treasurer and split from the township.

The suit asks for a “declaratory judgment to determine the rights and liabilities of all parties with respect to the assets currently held by the school trustees and township treasurer,” according to court documents.

Berwyn and Cicero had earlier asked the court to prevent OPRF from removing itself from the process.

On July 2, Cicero, Berwyn and Morton High School districts filed a petition against OPRF, stating that “District 200 was not adequately protecting the interests of all the school districts.”

The petition also stated that OPRF was “attempting to illegally avoid its statutory duty to share in the wind down costs of the offices of the school trustees and township treasurer.”

Last week, Dist. 97 filed a separate action to consolidate its lawsuit with only OPRF. That action was denied pending the result of a July 23 hearing concerning all of the suits from the parties involved, according to a source who asked to speak off the record.

Officials from Cicero Township would not comment. Attorneys for the township, Dist. 97 and OPRF were unavailable for comment.

CONTACT: tdean@wjinc.com

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