Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel asked a federal judge last month to end a desegregation settlement agreement with three Little Rock-area school districts that has cost the state more than $1 billion since 1989.
Mr. McDaniel last month asked that the state be released from its agreement with the Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Pulaski County Special districts. He argued the payments are no longer necessary since North Little Rock and Little Rock have been declared fully unitary—or substantially desegregated—and Pulaski County has been declared partially unitary.
A federal appeals court last year ruled a judge was wrong to cut off the payments because the state had not asked for them to end. A 1989 settlement requires the state to fund magnet schools, transfers between districts, and other programs to keep a racial balance in the school districts. Those costs add up to about $70 million a year.
Lawyers for the districts said they weren’t surprised by the request, since the state has long said it wants to end the payments. Sam Jones, a lawyer for the Pulaski County schools, said the motion could lead to discussions on a “reasonable” phaseout of the payments.
A version of this article appeared in the April 04, 2012 edition of Education Week as Ark. Asks Court to End Desegregation Accord