Progress for Jacksonville North Pulaski School District in desegregation case | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Progress for Jacksonville North Pulaski School District in desegregation case

Posted By on Tue, Sep 25, 2018 at 1:20 PM

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Federal Judge Price Marshall
indicated today that the relatively new Jacksonville/North Pulaski School District is nearing completion of the work necessary to be declared "unitary," and thus freed from the long-running Pulaski County school desegregation case.

In summary, the judge said:

All material things considered, the Court concludes that, with the exception of incentives for certain teachers, JNPSD is unitary in staffing; it is not unitary in facilities; but the District will be if it complies with the current master plan, as modified by this Order.

To state a fiscally obvious but nonetheless important  point, like districts across Arkansas, JNPSD will require continued substantial support from the State through partnership
funding (or some substantially similar program) to meet its facilities needs.

Intervenors representing black families in the district have opposed unitary status for the district, created by a 2013 settlement of major portions of the desegregation case. Little Rock and North Little Rock have been released. Pulaski County remains under court supervision and the court yesterday noted disparities in facilities remain, including substantial differences between high schools in white neighborhoods and the new Mills High School serving more black students.

In Jacksonville, plans are in progress for a new high school and middle school. The judge noted this and commitments to move faster on elementary school improvements. But he said replacement of the Taylor and Bayou Meto schools must be completed before planned expansions at the middle and high schools. If all the plans proceed as promised, he said the district could be considered unitary by 2026. But in the meanwhile, it is released from supervision on facilities, except for filing annual progress reports.

The judge said the district had done well in recruiting and hiring with diversity in mind at both the classroom and administrative level. But he said it needed to work more on incentives, such as tuition reimbursement, to recruit minority teachers in areas where more are needed, such as pre-K, primary and secondary core areas.

Here's the judge's order.

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