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Attorney thinks charter schools violate desegregation agreement

Thursday night the Little Rock School board decided whether to take legal action against Arkansas.
Thursday night the Little Rock School board is deciding whether to take legal action against Arkansas. The district's attorney says charter schools in Pulaski County violate the 1989 settlement agreement on desegregation. The board got a memo from the district's attorney this week. The bottom line, he thinks charter schools could resegregate the district.

"More affluent and higher performing students are leaving the school district leaving students in poverty in greater and greater concentrations,” LRSD attorney Chris Heller said.

That's just one of Chris Heller’s concerns. Charter schools tend to take Little Rock's best and brightest, leaving pockets of poverty in a district just designated unitary this year. He says the state keeps allowing charter schools to open disregarding the conditions of the settlement agreement.

"We feel it's time to raise those issues in court, particularly if the state tries to discontinue the funding that it agreed to under the settlement agreement," Heller said.

Another concern the school district has, is charter schools like E Stem play by different rules. One example, the state board does not require charter schools to provide transportation but Little Rock must make sure everyone gets on the bus.

"It’s not only a problem with money; it's a problem of resegregating. It's a problem of really two school systems."

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