LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin has filed three motions intended to roll back court rulings affecting school districts and school choice.
Griffin’s office filed the motion to intervene in the Western District of Arkansas for El Dorado, Hope and Lafayette County school districts to end programs addressing the racial imbalance in school students and staff. The motions allege these same programs are no longer necessary and block the schools from participating in the state’s 2013 school choice law.
Under current law, not being subject to the school choice law prevents students from choosing to transfer to schools outside their home district.
The Hope and Lafayette County schools operate under consent decrees ordered in the 1980s to resolve earlier desegregation lawsuits, blocking school choice law participation.
The El Dorado School District was desegregated in the early 1970s after a court order. That order also prevents participation in the school choice law.
Griffin’s motions say that the school districts no longer segregated and the importance of school choice in Arkansas means the current rulings in force need to be overturned.
“School choice is the law today in Arkansas. Unconstitutional, race-based consent decrees from decades past are denying equal rights to parents to select the school that best meets the needs of their children,” Griffin said.
Schools not participating in the school choice program are “avoiding competition and retaining funds for students who would otherwise leave,” Griffin said.