Walker/Joshua agree to school settlement | Arkansas Blog

Monday, November 18, 2013

Walker/Joshua agree to school settlement

Posted By on Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 10:13 PM


WALKER: Agrees to settlement, but vows to continue fighting 'racial hostility.' - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • WALKER: Agrees to settlement, but vows to continue fighting 'racial hostility.'

It was not a pretty ending tonight at the Little Rock School Board to the three-decade-running school desegregation suit. John Walker, who had worked out a settlement deal with Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and LRSD attorney Chris Heller prior to the specially called meeting, was denied the right to speak before the board, an action he said illustrated lingering racism in the district.

Walker asked the board to speak after members adopted a  to be guided by its facilities needs study on how to spend the $37.3 million the settlement provides for facilities funding and before its discussion on the sole agenda item to agree to the terms of the settlement with or without the blessing of the Joshua intervenors. When board chair Greg Adams said the special meeting did not allow comments from the public, Walker responded that he wasn't the public, he was a party to the suit. He declared the denial "unconscionable." 

Board member C.E. McAdoo then moved that the board suspend its rules to allow Walker to speak (as it had done to pass the spending resolution) and Dianne Curry seconded it. The board had earlier suspended the rules to vote on the resolution, and at that time Adams said suspending the rules required a unanimous vote, which the resolution got. But some questioned that rule when McAdoo made his motion, and there was a flurry of policy consultation before Adams confirmed a unanimous vote was required. Member Leslie Fisken was the spoiler, voting against the motion on the grounds that if Walker could speak, so should everyone else in the room be able to speak. And that, Walker proclaimed, was evidence of "a degree of racial hostility" in the LRSD that he vowed to fight "the rest of my life." 

What he was going to say, Walker said after the board voted, was that he'd agreed to the join the settlement if the district committed, through the resolution, to channel most of the facilities money to Southwest Little Rock. Walker pointed out the dollars poured into affluent West Little Rock — where the district has purchased land to build a middle school — and the decrepit condition of schools in the Southwest portion of the district, which many members of the board tonight declared needed a new high school. 

The West Little Rock middle school — a priority of new Superintendent Dexter Suggs, seen both as a way to compete against charter schools in the area and to get white votes for a millage increase — was one reason the Joshua intervenors held off on joining the settlement. Walker wanted the settlement to stipulate that the Little Rock School District would not be allowed to build a new middle school in West Little Rock. McDaniel agreed to let Walker and Little Rock negotiate on facilities funding separately.  

The resolution states that the district "will use the $37.3 million in facilities funding from the settlement to address the needs identified in the facilities study, and to equitably address and maintain the needs of Southwest Little rock schools, by giving priority to the schools with the greatest needs." Board member Tara Shephard said "history shows we'll not spend that money where we need to" without the resolution. The resolution first made specific reference to Southwest Little Rock in defining the facilities study as one identifying the needs in Southwest, but the board struck the word Southwest to clarify that it was studying the needs of all the district. [Correction: The earlier version of this post said the reference to Southwest was struck in the portion of the resolution in quotes above.] Fisken voted against the resolution, making the vote 6-1.

Attorney General McDaniel released a statement about 20 minutes ago saying all parties — the state, the Little Rock School District, North Little Rock School District, Pulaski County School District, Joshua intervenors and Knight intervenors — agreed to the tentative settlement. 

"This is a historic milestone decades in the making. With this agreement, the State and the three Pulaski County school districts can move forward to focus on the best interests of the students, rather than on costly, burdensome litigation.

"We look forward to presenting this agreement to the Court very soon."

Federal District Judge Price Marshall will hear arguments in the case in December. 


click to enlarge Walker and McDaniel confer before the LRSD board meeting, where the board passed a resolution to spend fourth-year settlement funds on facilities in the Southwest party of the district. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • Walker and McDaniel confer before the LRSD board meeting, where the board passed a resolution to spend fourth-year settlement funds on facilities in the Southwest party of the district.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (23)

Showing 1-23 of 23

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-23 of 23

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Third Friday in Argenta: Artwalking to see Southern landscapes and more

    Works by some of Arkansas's most distinguished artists, including the late Al Allen and Carroll Cloar, along with famed regionalist Thomas Hart Benton make up part of the offerings in "Southern Landscapes," a new exhibition at Greg Thompson Fine Art (429 Main St.) opening with the monthly Third Friday Argenta ArtWalk tonight.
    • Aug 18, 2017
  • 'Sign of the Times': Political posters at CHARTS

    Hendrix College's Dr. Jay Barth will give a talk and sax player Dr. Barry McVinney and pianist Mark Binns will provide the music at tonight's opening of "The Sign of the Times: The Great American Political Poster" in the Windgate Gallery at UA Pulaski Tech's CHARTS (The Center for Humanities and Arts). The event runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    • Aug 17, 2017
  • GiGi's opens with soul food and 'old school R and B vibe'

    GiGi’s Soul Cafe and Lounge at 10840 Maumelle Blvd., where the Nashville Rockin Grill was located, opened July 28 and co-owner Darrell Wyrick the restaurant is “bringing back the spirit of some of the places that have gone, like Porter’s and The Afterthought” with its soul food and “old school R and B vibe.”
    • Aug 16, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Arkansas: Land of .......

    Welcome to Arkansas: Land of cowardly politicians, discriminatory laws, inhumane turkey drops and lots and lots of Trump voters.
    • Oct 8, 2016
  • Another Republican miracle-working governor

    Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
    • Mar 4, 2016

People who saved…

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 Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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