McDaniel issues deseg demand | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

McDaniel issues deseg demand

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 12:15 PM

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel today issued his demands to Pulaski County public school districts to end state desegregation payments to the districts. He says the state will continue desegregation payments in Pulaski County for seven years -- currently about $68 million a year -- at the current level the first year and then tapering off payments by about $4 million a year for the final six years.

The Little Rock School District had offered to take an eight-year phaseout of support, but its offered phaseout would have only dropped to 90 percent of the beginning amount. As a practical matter, this case can't be closed out until all three school districts have been declared desegregated in federal court. Only Little Rock has gained that designation, with North Little Rock and Pulaski County pending. John Walker, who represents black students in Little Rock, also will have a role in settlement talks.

McDaniel demands that the state's ongoing support of segregative charter schools in Pulaski County not be discussed in resolving remaining issues. McDaniel demands also that recent state law on desegregation payments be accepted as constitutional. He further demands that Little Rock present a plan for supporting itself financially once state support is withdrawn. He says his demands are very generous.

(PS -- Of course McDaniel depicted the state's proposal as an "offer," not a demand. And, of course, he conversely described offers from the districts as "demands." I thought I'd play with his loaded words a little bit to demonstrate the demagoguery of such tactics. It's familiar among union haters. Generous bosses always offer. Underpaid, powerless working stiffs always demand.)

The Little Rock School District's attorney, Chris Heller, said the following in a note that went with the proposal to School Board members:

This seems to be a significant effort on the part of the state to resolve the outstanding funding issues. We should study it carefully to determine the impact on our students so that we can make an informed recommendation to the Board. I would like to start that work right away so that we will know where we stand before we get to Judge Miller's court in September.

McDaniel and the schools districts are negotiating to conclude a lawsuit that arose from decades of overt discriminatory practices by McDaniel's client, the state. The state has not demonstrated a great deal more good faith toward the local districts in recent years, except under force ofcourt order. The end of state support of magnet schools -- which was one the key requirements to satisfy the federal court to end the case years ago -- likely means the end of magnet schools. 

End of magnet school support also would contrast to the state's unwillingness to discourage functional equivalents in Pulaski County -- the free-standing miniature school districts known as charter schools. They are bound by no racial considerations and  also enjoy the significant luxury of being able to boot children who don't meet school rules.

If this was only about money, it probably could be easily settled. The state has significantly increased its offer in hopes of bringing the lawsuit to a close. But magnet schools and majority-minority transfers were bedrock remedies imposed on the state forever on account of the ill effects of state-supported segregation in schools and housing. They did not have an ending time. And the state has not met the law's requirements in approving charter schools. It has not considered impact on integration and it has not considered whether charter schools serve needs unmet by the district.  Some clearly have drawn disproportionately from pools of students already meeting education goals in conventional public schools. And these same schools have drawn disproportionately from racial and economic groups that are in the minority in the school district, thus making the district poorer and more segregated. The district might, however, conclude that a known quantity of money versus uncertain litigation could encourage a negotiated change to earlier agreements with the state. It is possible, too, McDaniel said, that if the state heard legitimate concerns on these issues they could still be addressed in continuing negotiations.

McDaniel said any settlement likely would include provisions for attorney fees, but there are no specifics to discuss on that yet. He said the state had been talking with John Walker about his concerns, chiefly related to addressing the continuing achievement gap between white and black students. McDaniel said he was hopeful that Walker would join with other parties, but said it was also possible that the parties would seek court approval without approval from all parties.

Ongoing debate in the Pulaski County School District over allowing Jacksonville to form its own district is a potential impediment to a universally approved settlement. In federal monitor's reports, the county district has fallen farthest short of meeting desegregation standards.

MCDANIEL NEWS RELEASE THAT ACCOMPANIED LETTER

LITTLE ROCK– Today, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel sent a letter extending an offer to the Little Rock, North Little Rock and Pulaski County Special School Districts in an effort to settle the long running desegregation case in Pulaski County.
 
This offer, if accepted, will set a clear ending date to the supplemental payments made by the state to the Pulaski County School Districts, which exceed $60,000,000 annually.  It will also include a plan for fiscal oversight of the school districts leading up to and after the ending date.
 
“This is a good offer that will give the districts financial stability and allow them to move beyond this litigation so that they may focus on educating students and preparing the next generation of doctors, teachers and scientists,” McDaniel said.  “Moreover, the State will almost certainly save millions of dollars by resolving this matter now, as opposed to waiting until the matter is disposed of by both the trial and appellate courts.”
 
The offer sets forth a seven-year plan to phase out the payments.  Specifically, the State agrees to maintain funding at the current 2008-2009 level for the first year of the seven-year plan. During years two, three and four the payments will be reduced by $4,000,000 a year. The remaining three years will see funding reduce by $4,250,000 a year.  The letter also outlines expectations that the districts will provide fiscal planning to support their use of the funding under the plan.

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Open line and Civil War update

    More Confederacy defenders were on hand in Bentonville against imagined threats to a one of hte Confederate statues put up long after the Civil War to spin a narrative about the noble Lost Cause.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • Three dead in WLR

    Three dead in suspected double murder-suicide in West Little Rock.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • One dead in shooting at Buffalo National River

    KTHV reports a man was fatally shot Saturday at the Buffalo National River in Searcy County in what is being called an officer-involved shooting. No other details at the moment.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Al Gore remembers Dale Bumpers

    Former Vice President Al Gore, a former U.S. Senate colleague of Dale Bumpers, sent a statement on Bumpers' death Friday:
    • Jan 3, 2016
  • Two plead in fraud of sheriff's office

    A former employee of the Pulaski County sheriff and a North Little Rock woman who sold goods to the sheriff's office have pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a scheme to steal from the sheriff's office, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office.
    • May 16, 2017
  • In Little Rock, Marco Rubio sells American exceptionalism

    This is Rubio's axiomatic answer to Donald Trump's insistence that he and he alone will Make America Great Again: America is the greatest, always has been.
    • Feb 22, 2016

Most Shared

  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.
  • Lynchings hidden in the history of the Hot Springs Confederate monument

    Hot Springs twice erupted into the kind of violence that has its roots in the issues left unresolved by the Civil War, and both times, it happened right where that monument to Confederate soldiers stands today.

Most Viewed

  • Open line and Civil War update

    More Confederacy defenders were on hand in Bentonville against imagined threats to a one of hte Confederate statues put up long after the Civil War to spin a narrative about the noble Lost Cause.
  • Arkansas-linked Charlottesville marcher identified, apologizes to those misidentified

    A man who says he's a former University of Arkansas student now living in New England has identified himself as the person wearing an "Arkansas Engineering" T-shirt in the Friday white supremacist march in Fayetteville. He apologized for involving UA in the story and to the professor misidentified as being the person wearing the shirt.
  • Three dead in WLR

    Three dead in suspected double murder-suicide in West Little Rock.
  • When Johnny Reb comes marching to Hot Springs

    They are assembling for and against white supremacist symbols in Hot Springs today. Photographs by Brian Chilson of the Arkansas Times.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Open line and Civil War update

    • omg dbi, I did not realize there has been another one! https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/20/world/a……

    • on August 20, 2017
  • Re: Open line and Civil War update

    • You asked, DBI, and your Norma heard your call from far across the fruited plains…

    • on August 20, 2017
  • Re: Open line and Civil War update

    • Wonder why all of a sudden our Navy can't pass another ship without running into…

    • on August 20, 2017

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation