Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is offering a $119 million settlement to three districts involved in a long-running school desegregation case.
In a letter Thursday, McDaniel said any settlement must involve the Little Rock, North Little Rock and Pulaski County districts.
Arkansas pays about $70 million annually to the districts under a 1989 agreement. The offer was in response to a proposed settlement McDaniel recently received from Little Rock to phase out its payments in either a $297 million lump sum or $42.4 million a year for seven years.
McDaniel's proposal offers $119 million total to the three districts between now and Sept. 1, 2014. The letter says any proposal must go before Legislative Council for consideration by Nov. 15 in advance of a federal court hearing on Dec. 9.
In a statement, McDaniel said:
I appreciate the Little Rock School District’s willingness to discuss an end to this litigation, but I cannot accept its proposal to continue supplemental funding for another seven years and to limit state oversight of the district.
Today, I have shared with the Pulaski County school districts, the governor and legislators a settlement offer that would apply to all parties in the case. It is a fair and reasonable resolution that balances the needs of the districts with the obligations of the State to provide an equitable and adequate education to all students. I encourage the school districts to accept this offer so that we can finally end this costly and distracting litigation and focus our attention on where it belongs – in classrooms, not courtrooms.