by Max Brantley
Federal Judge Brian Miller refused yesterday to stay his ruling ending most state financial desegregation aid to Pulaski County school districts and threatening to end the rest of it. The Little Rock School District was prepared with an emergency appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
For those with an interest in the case, I recommend a reading of the 22-page filing. It's a useful history of the 29-year-old lawsuit. It explains something that many don't understand or don't want to understand — the state has continuing responsibility for decades of encouraging residential segregation and unconstitutional schools in this county. The 1989 school settlement DID NOT contemplate an end to state support of magnet schools and interdistrict transfers. Miller's end of funding for these programs — without notice or a hearing — would effectively end these programs, even as the state has continued to contribute to segregation in the county with creation of charter schools, several which have put majority white student bodies in majority white neighborhoods.
Miller's ruling is unsupported by law in multiple school cases, the brief argues. It is unsupported by the terms of the state's contractual obligations in the earlier settlement. It was simply erroneous in reference to Little Rock, which has been declared desegregated and is not a violator of court rulings (or, in Miller's inexplicable conclusion, being rewarded for failing.)