A pair of mothers say the Racine Unified School District is discriminating against poor and minority families in its choices of where to hold summer school with COVID relief money.
According to a federal lawsuit filed Monday, the district planned to open three of its four K-8 schools for summer school, where students who may have fallen behind during the coronavirus pandemic might catch up.
One of the chosen summer school hosts, Gifford, has a student body that's about 73% white and less than 30% economically disadvantaged.
The elementary schools the plaintiffs attend, Julian Thomas and Knapp, are not set to hold summer school.
Almost 89% of Julian Thomas students are Black or Hispanic, and more than 94% are economically disadvantaged, according to the suit. At Knapp, those figures are about 67% minority and 87% economically disadvantaged.
In the lawsuit, Miketra Larry and Brittany McKenney serve as the named "next friends" of the actual plaintiffs, their five minor children, who range from 6 to 11 years old, according to the suit.
On Tuesday, the Racine Unified School District announced some changes to its summer school plans that a spokesperson said should address the lawsuit's concerns.
The suit states that "RUSD also decided to not provide bus service for the majority of students wanting to attend the three K-8 schools slated to be opened summer school 2021."
And even if they could get to the three schools, the more distant children can't get spaces in the after-school enrichment activities there because they are full with waiting lists.
The result is violations of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the suit contends. The children are represented by longtime civil rights attorney Anne T. Sulton.