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Church Property

School board seeks to cancel church's contract to buy abandoned property.

Can a school board cancel a contract to sell an abandoned public school building to a predominantly black church because of opposition by neighboring landowners?

No, concluded a federal district court in Illinois. Under Illinois law, school boards are authorized to sell unused school buildings at public sales. In 1987, an unused school building was offered for sale by a school board, and the church was the high bidder. A contract was executed, and a closing date was set. Between the sale and closing date, there was a public outcry by many white residents because the school building was being sold to a black church.

A few days prior to the closing date, the church presented to the school board the cash amount due at closing under the sales contract, but the school board refused to accept it. A few weeks later the school board attempted to "null and void" its contract with the church, ...

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Posted:
  • September 1, 1989

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