LITTLE ROCK, AR - A federal judge has issued an order giving final approval to a settlement that releases the Little Rock School District and North Little Rock School District from the 32-year desegregation case.
The court's first "okay" came back in January after hours of objection/fairness hearings for those against the settlement.
At that time, nearly a dozen people testified. Many of them said they believed the settlement was a fiscally responsible agreement, but they wanted their children to continue the magnet school tracks. The settlement forces the students to return to their original districts after they've reached the highest grades at their current school. The judge sided with the state and school districts, saying it was time to end the settlement and focus on children.
The agreement between the state and the Little Rock, North Little Rock and Pulaski County Special School Districts had been reached back in November, and needed the court's approval to proceed.
Today's consent judgment granting final approval of the settlement includes the following stipulations:
- If there are any conflicts between the terms of this Judgment and those of the settlement agreement, the settlement agreement shall govern.
- The Court dismisses with prejudice the State of Arkansas. The Court dismisses with prejudice the Little Rock School District and the North Little Rock School District. The Court dismisses with prejudice the Knight Intervenors.
- The Court retains jurisdiction to address the dispute between the Joshua Intervenors and the State.
- The Pulaski County Special School District will remain under Court supervision until unitary status is attained in all remaining areas.
- The Court also retains jurisdiction as necessary should a Jacksonville/North Pulaski Area School District be created.
The settlement calls for the end of more than 70-million dollars in payments to the districts in June 2018.
*Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the end of federal supervision applied to all three school districts in Pulaski County.