LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal judge approved a settlement Monday that will allow the state of Arkansas to stop making payments to three Little Rock-area school districts to aid their desegregation efforts.
U.S. District Judge Price Marshall signed off on the pact after hearing several hours of testimony from opponents of the deal and lawyers for the signees: the state, the districts and black schoolchildren.
Since 1989, the state has given the Little Rock, North Little Rock and Pulaski County Special school districts more than $1 billion, total, above their regular state appropriations. The money — about $70 million this fiscal year — goes toward magnet schools and transporting students from districts where they’d be in the majority to those where they’d be in the minority.
The state has wanted to halt the payments for years, and Marshall had scheduled a March trial to hear Attorney General Dustin McDaniel‘s lawsuit seeking the arrangement’s immediate end.
Under the new deal, the state will continue making payments through 2017, with final-year funding earmarked for facilities.
“The incentives are great for all of us,” McDaniel told Marshall on Monday. “We know that if litigation results in a harsh outcome (for one party or another), the true victims are the students.”
The original lawsuit was filed in 1982 — when the Little Rock district said policies among the state and the North Little Rock and Pulaski County districts left all schools countywide with a racial imbalance. Under the 1989 settlement, the state agreed to give the districts more money but the funding never ended.
The Little Rock and North Little Rock districts have been declared integrated; Pulaski County has been found short in several areas, including facilities.
Objections raised in court Monday included whether students currently in magnet school programs could continue in their current curricula (they can’t) and whether students in majority-to-minority transfers can stay where they are until graduation (they can).
Residents in Sherwood, a Little Rock suburb, also want permission to establish their own district without having to wait until Pulaski County’s district is declared integrated. A separate city, Jacksonville, is in line to set up its own district.
Beverly Williams, who represents a group of Sherwood-area school patrons, said the community has worked for years to carve out its own district.
“The finish line keeps moving,” she told the court.
Marshall could not modify the terms of the agreement; he could only approve or reject it.
A federal judge in 2011 attempted to end the funding, but the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overruled him, saying no party had asked to end the payments. Then, federal judge Brian Miller said the state had used a carrot-and-stick approach, but that the districts had learned how to “eat the carrot and sit down on the job” by not doing everything possible to integrate schools.
Little Rock was the scene of the nation’s first major desegregation battle when President Dwight Eisenhower used federal troops to escort nine black schoolchildren into Central High School, the city system’s flagship school.
(AP Photo: Attorney John Walker leaves the Federal Courthouse in Little Rock, Ark., during a break in a hearing Monday, Jan.13, 2014.)
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
1 of 30
2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
2 of 30
3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
3 of 30
4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
4 of 30
5. Jus haaaanngin out
5 of 30
6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
6 of 30
7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
7 of 30
8. new new
8 of 30
9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
9 of 30
10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
10 of 30
11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
11 of 30
12 of 30
13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
13 of 30
14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
14 of 30
15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
15 of 30
16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
16 of 30
17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
17 of 30
18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
18 of 30
19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
19 of 30
20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
20 of 30
21 of 30
22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
22 of 30
23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
23 of 30
24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
24 of 30
25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
25 of 30
26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
26 of 30
27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
27 of 30
28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
28 of 30
29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
29 of 30
30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
30 of 30