Minnesota Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Charter Schools in School Desegregation Case

On Sept. 26, 2022, the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld a district court’s order denying a motion for partial summary judgement in the Cruz-Guzman v. State of Minnesota case. The high-profile school desegregation case was initially brought on by seven Twin Cities families who alleged that schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul districts are effectively segregated and fail to create equitable learning environments for students. Appeals Judge Matthew Johnson wrote, “A racially imbalanced school system, by itself, is not a violation of the Education Clause of the Minnesota Constitution.”

On Dec. 6, the Hennepin County District Court also denied the plaintiffs’ claim that racially and/or economically segregated schools are, due to their demographics alone, violative of the Education Clause. 

The opinion written by Judge Matthew Johnson sided with the lower court, stating that a racially imbalanced school system by itself is not a violation of the education clause of the Minnesota Constitution, even if state action contributed to the imbalance — but only if it’s intentionally caused by lawmakers.

Taft Minneapolis partner Jack Perry and associate Brayanna Bergstrom represented three charter schools — Higher Ground Academy, Friendship Academy of the Arts, and Paladin Career & Technical Center, in this case. 

Perry is a senior trial lawyer and litigator, specializing in high-stakes litigation and regulatory compliance matters across a broad array of sectors. 

Bergstrom is an attorney in Taft’s Litigation practice, focusing on general business litigation and complex commercial disputes.

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