Dan Harkins Aug. 14, 2015, 12:12pm

The Better Government Association and a Chicago TV station are suing the city school district for allegedly not providing employment documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Better Government Association and WMAQ-TV, an NBC subsidiary, filed a lawsuit July 27 in Cook County Circuit Court against Chicago Public Schools.

According to the complaint, Chicago Public Schools "has willfully and intentionally violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to respond to FOIA requests" by the defendants "for non-exempt records."

The plaintiffs ask the court for remedial changes "to correct this systemic failure and achieve the transparency required under FOIA," the lawsuit states.

The request, on April 29, 2014, sought records limited to a specific time period that included "copies of any and all settlement agreements, severance agreements and termination agreements approved or adopted from Jan. 1, 2013, until present," the lawsuit states.

Although these are public record, the suit states, the records were not disclosed.

In addition to an injunction requiring the district to provide these documents, the plaintiffs ask the court to implement measures to correct the district's FOIA compliance, order it to comply to requests within specified deadlines, pay attorney fees and courts costs, plus civil penalties of $2,500 to $5,000 for each FOIA violation.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Matthew Topic and Julie Goodwin of Loevy and Loevy in Chicago. 

Cook County Circuit Court case number 2015CH14398.

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