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LITTLE ROCK SCH. DIST. v. PULASKI CTY. SPECIAL SCH

February 27, 1987

Little Rock School District, Plaintiff
v.
Pulaski County Special School District No. 1, North Little Rock School District, Arkansas State Board of Education, Wayne Hartsfield, Walter Turnbow, Harry A. Haines, Jim Dupree, Dr. Harry P. McDonald, Robert L. Newton, Alice L. Preston, Jeff Starling, Earle Love, Bob Lyon, John Ward, Judy Wear, Leon Barnes, Marianna Gosser, Steve Morley, Mac Faulkner, Bob Moore, Don Hindman, Shirley Lowery, Sheryl Dunn, David Sain, Bob Stender, Grainger Williams, Richard A. Giddings, George A. McCrary, Buddy Raines, and Dale Ward, Defendants; Katherine Knight, Individually and as President of The Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association (LRCTA), LRCA, Ed Bullington, Individually and as President of The Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers (PACT), PACT, John Harrison, Individually and as President of The North Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association (NLRCTA), NLRCTA and Milton Jackson, Individually and as a Non-Certified Educational Support Employee of the Little Rock School District, Intervenors; Lorene Joshua, as next friend of minors Leslie Joshua, Stacy Joshua and Wayne Joshua, Rev. Robert Willingham, Sara Matthews as next friend of Khayyam Davis, Alexa Armstrong and Karlos Armstrong, Mrs. Alvin Hudson as next friend of Tatia Hudson, Mrs. Hilton Taylor as next friend of Parsha Taylor, Hilton Taylor, Jr. and Brian Taylor, Rev. John M. Miles as next friend of Janice Miles and Dereck Miles, Rev. Robert Willingham on behalf of and as President of the Little Rock Branch of the NAACP, Lorene Joshua on behalf of and as President of the North Little Rock Branch of NAACP, Intervenors



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WOODS

 HENRY WOODS, U.S. District Judge.

 In conformity with the opinion of the Court of Appeals dated November 7, 1985, 778 F.2d 404, and the ensuing mandate, a hearing was held on January 29-30, 1987, to consider the recommendation of the Magnet Review Committee concerning the locations, themes, dates, operation, transportation, seat allocations, targeted ratios, and administration of the magnet schools in this county. January 29th and 30th were devoted to testimony adduced by the Magnet Review Committee on behalf of its plan.

 The hearing was adjourned to continue the week of February 17, 1987 a presentation of the magnet school plans of the other parties and a critique of the plan of the Magnet Review Committee. At the close of the testimony on January 30, I suggested that the parties again confer and attempt to reach an agreement on the magnet school portion of the Eighth Circuit mandate. (R. 568-69).

 On February 17, 1987, the hearing was resumed to take up not only the magnet school issues but also the student assignment plans submitted by the Pulaski County Special School District (hereafter PCSD), the North Little Rock School District (hereafter NLRSD), and the Little Rock School District (hereafter LRSD). The three districts and the State Department of Education then advised the court that they had agreed by stipulation to a magnet school plan for the County which had been submitted to the Magnet Review Committee and approved by the latter. (R. 577). In open court the Joshua intervenors advised that they had no objections to the stipulation and were in general agreement with its terms. Since the Knight intervenors had not been party to the negotiations leading to the stipulation, they declined to approve the plan but interposed no objection thereto. I have examined the stipulation in detail. In my opinion it is an excellent compromise of the many complex issues involved in magnet schools. The stipulated settlement is in all respects approved. A copy of the stipulation is attached hereto as Exhibit A and is incorporated by reference in this order.

 All of the parties except the Joshua and Knight intervenors have also stated in open court that the provisions of the Magnet Review Committee Report dated January 22, 1987 (MRC) not superseded by Exhibit A were stipulated as binding on the three districts and the State Board of Education. (R. 582-21). The Magnet Review Committee Report is attached hereto as Exhibit B. The stipulation and agreement as aforesaid are approved in all respects.

 One issue remains with reference to the magnet schools presently in existence. That is the question of whether the students presently at the three magnet schools should remain and finish at the schools which they have been attending. Based on the evidence presented, I am convinced that the past success of these schools is the best argument for continuing the present student body as much as possible. Involved parents, black and white, of children attending these schools have contributed greatly to their success and have invested a huge amount of time and energy in making these schools outstanding. It would be a mistake in my opinion to dump these students and start anew. There will of course be attrition and new seats available through graduation, but the students presently enrolled in Booker, Mann and Williams shall have a right to continue in these schools.

 The responsibilities of the Magnet Review Committee, as agreed by the three districts and the State Board of Education, appear at pages 1 and 2 of Exhibit B hereto. The Committee shall be financed as agreed by the parties with a budget of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($150,000) with Seventy-Five Thousand Dollars ($75,000) or half to be paid by the State and Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars ($25,000) by each of the three districts.

 The MRC will necessarily work closely with the three districts and the State in order to have the six magnet schools ready for the 1987-88 school year. The MRC should report to the court on May 1, 1987, on July 1, 1987 and again on September 1, 1987 to inform the court of progress made in implementing the magnet schools. While the reports need not be lengthy, so as to be burdensome to the MRC, certainly the MRC reports should keep the court abreast of the status of critical aspects of implementation of the magnets including: renovations, teacher recruitment, staff training and development, community input and involvement, and student recruitment.

 The Joshua intervenors and the Knight intervenors have both asked for representation on the Magnet Review Committee by a voting membership. I am unable to comply with this request. The Court of Appeals set forth in clear and unequivocal terms the makeup of the Magnet Review Committee. At the request of all the parties, I did give the Joshua intervenors a non-voting member of the Committee. This was a modification agreed upon by all the parties that did not affect the basic structure of the Magnet Review Committee. The request of the Joshua intervenors and the Knight intervenors for a voting representation on the Magnet Review Committee is hereby denied.

 The financing of the magnet school plan has been stipulated; it is approved as covered in the stipulation (Exhibit A) and in the opinion of the Court of Appeals. In addition to the financing relating to magnet schools and to majority-to-minority transfers, there is only one other reference to state financing in the Court of Appeals decision, Little Rock School District v. Pulaski County Special School District, 778 F.2d 404 at 435 (8th Cir. 1985):

 
If the four all- or nearly all-black elementary schools as conditionally allowed by this Court in Clark v. Board of Education of Little Rock, 705 F.2d 265 (8th Cir. 1983), are retained in LRSD, compensatory and remedial programs of the type that we required for the nonintegrated schools in St. Louis shall be put into effect for the four schools. See Liddell v. State of Missouri, 731 F.2d 1294, 1312-18 (8th Cir. 1984). The additional cost of these programs shall be paid for by the State of Arkansas.

 Since there are no all-black schools in the LRSD student assignment plan, the conditions are not present which would trigger state financing of compensatory education, as is obvious from the above language. The Little Rock District has requested other funding from the State. None of the funding is required by the Court of Appeals ruling. The State's share of the magnet school funding will be considerable. It will strain the already meager resources of the State at a time when the State has committed itself to new standards for all Arkansas public schools. Although the blacks in Little Rock have suffered from the ravages of segregation, so have the blacks in every section and ...


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