Little Rock School District, et al v. Pulaski County Special School District, et al, Case No. 4:82:cv-00866-DPM, In the United States District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas, Western Division.
The federal district court has had this desegregation case since 1982, and at least six federal district judges have presided during its pendency. The court found that three school districts situated in Pulaski County, Arkansas -- Little Rock School District (LRSD), Pulaski County Special School District (PCSSD), and North Little Rock School District (NLRSD) -- were unconstitutionally segregated and placed under court supervision until they were declared unitary. Two intervenors -- Lorene Joshua, et al, and Katherine Knight, et al -- joined the litigation. In 1989 the parties entered into a settlement agreement (the "1989 Settlement Agreement") under which the Department of Education, the three school districts, and the intervenors agreed to the terms of state funding for desegregation obligations. Many issues have been decided in the case both at the federal district court level and at the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. The most recent events and issues are summarized below:
2007 -- The court declared the Little Rock School District unitary and that decision was upheld by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2009. The Pulaski County Special School District and the North Little Rock School District sought to be declared unitary in 2007.
2011 -- On May 19, 2011, the court found that the NLRSD was unitary in all but one area, but that the PCSSD had not satisfied requirements for unitary status in nine of twelve areas. At the same time, the court released the state from most of its desegregation funding obligations. All parties have appealed that order to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. The 8th Circuit ordered the continued payment of those funding obligations until it renders a decision in the appeal.
The federal district court will continue its jurisdiction over the 1989 Settlement Agreement and the three school districts until all districts are declared unitary. A hearing will be held in March 2012 on a motion to enforce the 1989 Settlement Agreement concerning state funding, state actions relating to remediation of achievement disparity, and the impact of charter schools on desegregation efforts.