Submitted: September 20, 2017
from United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Missouri - St. Louis
COLLOTON, BENTON, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.
COLLOTON, Circuit Judge.
April 2016, several parties to the decades-old St. Louis
public school desegregation litigation moved to enforce the
1999 Desegregation Settlement Agreement. The moving parties
were plaintiffs in the original case, known as the Liddell
and Caldwell-NAACP plaintiffs (the Plaintiffs), and the
Special Administrative Board of the Transitional School
District of the City of St. Louis (the Special Administrative
Board). The Plaintiffs and the Special Administrative Board
(together the Joint Movants) argued that the State, through
the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary
Education, was reallocating certain tax proceeds to St. Louis
charter schools in violation of the Settlement Agreement. The
Joint Movants asked the court to order the State to comply
with the 1999 Desegregation Settlement Agreement by (1)
discontinuing the practice of allocating the tax proceeds in
question to the charter schools, and (2) reimbursing the
Special Administrative Board for past wrongful allocations.
31, 2016, St. Louis charter school parents Ken Ross, Jr., and
LeDiva Pierce moved to intervene as plaintiffs as of right
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2).
Alternatively, the charter school parents sought permissive
intervention under Rule 24(b). The charter school parents
argue that the pending motion to enforce seeks to decrease
funding for charter schools and thereby threatens their
interest in "educational funding and educational
opportunities" for their children. Ross and Pierce seek
to intervene on behalf of themselves and "all others
district court denied the charter parents' motion to
intervene on the grounds that the parents lacked an injury in
fact as required to establish standing to intervene. We
disagree and conclude that the charter parents have standing.
We therefore reverse and remand for the district court to
determine in the first instance whether the charter parents
meet the requirements under Rule 24 for intervention as of
right or for permissive intervention.
charter parents seek to intervene as plaintiffs in litigation
that has been ongoing since 1972. To provide context, we
begin with a brief history of this litigation and the
1972, Minnie Liddell, on behalf of African American school
children in St. Louis and their parents, filed suit against
the St. Louis Board of Education (the City Board). Liddell
alleged that the City Board and its administrators had
perpetuated racial segregation and discrimination in St.
Louis public schools in violation of her children's
constitutional rights. See Liddell v. Bd. of Educ.,
469 F.Supp. 1304 (E.D. Mo. 1979).
1973, the district court certified the Liddell plaintiff
class. In 1976, another group of students and parents,
together with the NAACP, intervened in the litigation. We
refer to them as the Caldwell-NAACP plaintiffs. See
Liddell v. Caldwell, 546 F.2d 768, 769 (8th Cir. 1976).
In 1977, the State of Missouri, the Missouri State Board of
Education, and the State Commissioner of Education were made
defendants. Liddell, 469 F.Supp. at 1312.
1983, the parties agreed on a comprehensive desegregation
plan that provided for a voluntary suburban transfer program,
magnet schools, new education programs, capital improvements,
and improved vocational education in the school district.
Liddell v. Bd. of Educ., 567 F.Supp. 1037 (E.D. Mo.
1983). The State and the City Board funded this plan.
1996, the State moved for a declaration that the City Board
no longer operated a segregated school system and for relief
from its funding obligations under the desegregation plan.
After three years of negotiations, the parties reached, and
the court approved, the 1999 Desegregation Settlement
Agreement (the Agreement).
the Agreement, the parties agreed that the City Board would
continue various remediation programs. In exchange, the St.
Louis Public School District (the District) would receive a
minimum of $60 million in funding per year, consisting of a
combination of state aid and local tax revenue. Senate Bill
781, passed in 1998, set forth a revised funding formula for
calculating state aid to the District. The remainder of the