Statement from Attorney Generals Office on Eighth Circuit Ruling in Desegregation Case

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April 02, 2009

LITTLE ROCK- Today, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed District Judge William R. Wilson's order declaring that the Little Rock School District ("LRSD") has satisfied the duties imposed on it in the desegregation case and should be released from federal court supervision. The Attorney General is pleased with this ruling as it represents an historical milestone in this decades-long process and is truly an accomplishment for both the LRSD and the State of Arkansas.

Up to this point, legal proceedings regarding the status of the Pulaski County Special School District ("PCSSD") and the North Little Rock School District ("NLRSD"), which remain under federal court supervision, have been delayed pending the ruling by the Eighth Circuit. With this ruling now in hand, the Attorney General plans to request that Judge Wilson set a hearing on the status of these two districts as soon as possible in an effort to ensure that those districts are desegregated so that court supervision over their operations should also end.

This decision will also have an impact on the state desegregation funding provided to the LRSD. It is difficult to say exactly what that impact will be at this time. However, the State's position that it is now appropriate to eliminate, or wind down, that funding is substantially strengthened by the Eighth Circuit decision. In the coming days and weeks, the Attorney General will consult with the Governor, members of the Legislature and the Arkansas Department of Education regarding the impact of this ruling on the state desegregation funding and how to proceed with ending the approximately $60,000,000 paid annually by the taxpayers of Arkansas.