Little Rock school district declared unitary

Feb. 23, 2007, Arkansas Times

“Federal Judge Bill Wilson ended the Little Rock School District’s long entanglement with desegregation litigation Friday with a 49-page order that declared the district unitary.

“The district is now free to operate how it sees fit, without court supervision and without the involvement of attorney John Walker and the Joshua Intervenors, the class of black students he’s represented for decades.

“Little Rock School Board members had disagreed among themselves whether the district should be declared unitary, and even asked Wilson to delay the January hearing that led to today’s ruling – a request he denied.

“The sole remaining issue in the long-running deseg suit was whether the district had ‘deeply embedded’ a system for evaluating various programs’ effect on the achievement of black students.

“Wilson’s ruling is a victory for Superintendent Roy Brooks, who tried to fire the district employee in charge of the evaluation system, Karen DeJarnette, who stated publicly – and testified in court – that the district hadn’t met the ‘deeply embedded’ standard.”