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Williams Settlement Information

Use this page to learn more about the Williams Lawsuit Settlement and how it has affected schools in Del Norte County.



In May 2000, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other public interest advocates representing students across the state filed a lawsuit against the State of California, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State Board of Education, and the California Department of Education. The lawsuit claimed that the State failed to provide poor and underprivileged students with equal educational opportunities.  The Eliezer Williams et al., vs. State of California, et al. (Williams) case was filed as a class action suit in 2000 and settled in 2004.

The Williams Lawsuit Settlement requires that all students have sufficient books and that their school be clean and safe. It takes steps toward assuring that schools have qualified teachers and holds schools accountable for delivering these fundamental elements to students. As part of the Williams Lawsuit Settlement, California Education Code Section 1240 required that County Offices of Education visit schools identified in their counties and report the results of the visits to the School District Board of Trustees, County Board of Education, and County Board of Supervisors.

In the case of Del Norte Unified School District, which is the only public school district within a single county, Williams Settlement review services are contracted out to another county. In this case, the Humboldt County Office of Education provided these services.

The following report provides a detailed description of all of the items and areas covered by the Fall, 2022 Williams review of the Del Norte Unified School District.

To summarize:

  • Four school sites, Bess Maxwell, Margaret Keating, Joe Hamilton, and Castle Rock, were reviewed.
  • At each of these schools, all instructional materials were found to be sufficient.
  • For each school site reviewed, required (and updated) information on the School Accountability Report Card (SARC) was available on the District’s website at the time of the site visit.
  • Each of the four schools met their teacher assignment requirements, reporting no active vacancies.
  • Each of the four schools met its Uniform Complaint Procedure (UCP) requirements.
  • Three of the four schools were found to be in “Good Condition,” and one was found to be in "Fair Condition," via the Facilities Inspection Tool (FIT) instrument.  However, each school had some areas of deficiency that were included in the accompanying report.  

If you have any questions or would like further information about the Williams Settlement and the Del Norte Unified School District, please contact Tom Kissinger, EdD, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services. He can be reached by calling (707) 464-0203 or by emailing