Euclid Schools To Avoid Expensive Discrimination Trial

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Last year the city of Euclid itself arduously fought - and lost - a federal lawsuit challenging its system of electing members of council. The Justice Department said it violated federal election law by unfairly impeding minority candidates' chances of getting elected.

Now, it's the Euclid School Board's fully at-large membership that the department says discriminates, and it's expected to file suit sometime this week.

Attorney David Smith, who represents the Euclid Schools, says the district won't oppose the federal government's stipulation - as did the city, at great expense. But, he says, the government and the district are at odds over a remedy, and that will be hammered out in court.

Smith: Whether the Justice department proposes the same remedy it proposed before, that we couldn't agree on, I don't know, and exactly what remedies the board will proposed hasn't been finally determined.

Currently the Euclid District has five at-large board members serving staggered four-year terms. Smith says the justice department has suggested moving to the equivalent of a ward system, where five sub-districts would each elect a member to the board, and terms would not be staggered. The rationale is that people in a predominantly black sub-district would be more inclined than the population at large to elect a black candidate.
Bill Rice, 90.3.

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