Federal Appeals Court Rules Desegregation Settlement Supercedes Arkansas Choice Law

Aug 18, 2016

A federal appeals court Thursday issued a ruling affecting how an Arkansas school choice law affects districts under desegregation orders.

In its opinion, the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an earlier federal district court ruling which said the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 2013 does not trump the requirements of a 1992 Garland County school desegregation settlement.

More recently, school administrators there sought to ease restrictions on student transfers between the districts in accordance with the recent choice law, which removed limitations on transfers based on race. But the appeals court said the original federal desegregation settlement included the requirements of an earlier state school choice law, which did contain race-based limitations.

The ruling affects the Hot Springs, Jessieville, Cutter Morning Star, Fountain Lake, Lake Hamilton, and Mountain Pine school districts.

Read the full opinion here.