Tuesday, February 08, 2011

ACLU Settles With Some of the Parties In Suit Challenging Minnesota Charter School

The ACLU of Minnesota has reached a settlement agreement with Islamic Relief USA and Minnesota's commissioner of education in a long-running lawsuit accusing a charter school, TiZA, of violating the establishment clause by promoting Islam. (See prior posting.) The Minneapolis Star Tribune yesterday reported that the settlement involves Islamic Relief paying the ACLU $267,500, and the state increasing its screening of charter schools to assure that they do not promote religion. Islamic Relief has also agreed that it will not reincorporate in Minnesota, a step that would be needed under new Minnesota provisions if it were to continue to serve as TiZA's authorizer.  Islamic Relief has also obtained the cooperation of two witnesses who will testify if the suit continues against TiZA (Tarek Ibn Ziyad Academy) itself. The parties to the settlement have compiled a list of undisputed facts in the case, and the ACLU is asking the court to unseal underlying documents supporting those facts. A motion for confirmation of the settlement agreements was filed in federal district court on Jan. 31 indicating that settlement with the state is conditioned on the agreement and its attachments being made public.