CHICAGO (STMW) — An Illinois man filed a federal lawsuit Monday contesting the legality of the state providing funding to private schools — including several in Chicago.

Robert I. Sherman claims the Illinois Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois Capital Development Board and Illinois comptroller illegally provided funding to private schools, many with religious affiliations, through various means in violation of the state constitution, according to a suit filed in U.S. District Court in Sangamon County.

The suit claims Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Warren Ribley awarded a $200,000 grant to T. Pius V Church & School at 2020 S. Blue Island Ave.

Sherman objects to the grant, which would be used to cover a portion of a construction project to add additional second floor space at the youth center facility, because it is government money being used to promote and further religious purposes.

The suit also objects to the “Private College and Universities Capital Distribution Formula Act,” which awarded about $35 million of $300 million in grants to 64 private colleges and universities, including Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College.

The four-count suit, which also lists Illinois Board of Higher Education Executive Director G. W. Reid, Illinois Capital Development Board Executive Director Jim Underwood and Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, is seeking an injunction stopping the distribution of state money to private schools and a trial about the legality of the distributions.

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