Friday, January 14, 2011

New Motions To Dismiss ACLU Suit Challenging Minnesota Cultural Identity Charter School

In 2009, the ACLU of Minnesota filed a federal lawsuit  against Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA), a publicly-funded cultural identity charter school operating in the Twin Cities area, alleging that school policies promote Islam and that the school has improperly leased land from sectarian organizations-- all in violation of the Establishment Clause as well as various state constitutional and statutory provisions. (See prior posting.) The lawsuit also named the state commissioner of education as a defendant.  The St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on Wednesday reported on two new developments in the case. The state's new education commissioner, Brenda Cassellius, filed a motion in court to dismiss the suit against the state, arguing that TiZA made multiple misrepresentations to the state which interfered in the state's ability to oversee the charter school. Meanwhile separately TiZA filed a motion to dismiss the case on the ground that the ACLU of Minnesota cannot bring the suit because it was administratively dissolved  by the Minnesota Secretary of State in 2006 for inadvertently failing to renew its registration.