LITTLE ROCK, Ark.(KTHV)- On Monday, a federal judge gave final approval to a deal ending decades of desegregation payments to three school districts in Pulaski County.
Since 1989, parents were able to apply for transfers between districts. Monday's ruling put an end to that halting the millions of dollars that went to fund those programs.
For the first time in more than a quarter century the state will no longer be required to make extra payments to help fund racial integration of schools.
Dr. Jerry Guess, superintendent of Pulaski County Special School District, said this will bring students back to their designated school districts.
"The most dramatic change that will be the result of the inter-district relationship between Little Rock, North Little Rock and Pulaski County will be changes to magnet and to M-to-M admission."
Dr. Guess said this agreement will put a halt to new magnet and M-to-M students. But, Guess said this will not uproot students who are currently a part of those programs.
"Those kids who are in that pipeline now will stay in that pipeline, but there will be no new applications accepted for either of those programs."
Guess said transportation for transfer and magnet students will continue for another three years, but after that transportation is up to the student. He said this will finally put an end to all of those across district line trips.
"We run 300 school buses a day. We go about 2 million miles a year we're not going to do that in the future."
Majority to minority transfers will be given the choice to remain in their current district until they graduate.
For magnet school students their tenure ends once they complete the last grade at that school.
Guess said, the desegregation program has served a very important purpose, but it is now time to lift that stigma and look toward the future.
"As Judge Marshall said the other day, it is a new day. The Little Rock and North Little Rock and Pulaski Districts are planning aggressively for life after desegregation."
The payments, which total nearly $70 million a year, will continue for four years. Funds distributed in the final year must be dedicated to improving facilities.
Boundary lines designating what areas lie within the three school districts will remain the same.