Judge OKs Pact Ending Ark. Desegregation Payments

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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.)

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