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Walling Off Districts, 'Pick and Choose' Transfers vs. Equal Access for All

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Only two Arkansas school boards, which could choose to participate in Inter-district School Choice, have sought and received exemptions because of conflicting federal court orders:

The seven school boards of Garland County have no choice, as their districts are precluded from participating because they are under an active federal court order.

Camden Fairview has been granted exemption only on transfers to/from Harmony Grove, which is the only district specifically mentioned in its consent decree.

The basis of Jacksonville/North Pulaski's exemption is the 2014 Desegregation Settlement Agreement, which was written (poorly and with inequitable conditions) by its attorneys when they ran the Attorney General's office. The Agreement expires at the conclusion of the 2018-19 school year, so unless U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall, Jr. allows otherwise, JNPSD will be compelled to participate in Inter-district School Choice in 2019-20.

Last year, when the State Board of Education voted in favor of parents' appeal of El Dorado's denial, the district's attorneys - Allen P. Roberts, P.A. of Camden - beat a path to U.S. District Judge Susan O. Hickey seeking a federal blessing of their client's exemption. Inexplicably, the State of Arkansas did not intervene on behalf of its State Board of Education, and El Dorado's attorneys were able to make their case with no opposition. As a result, the judge ruled in their favor.

When the State Board also sided with parents over the Hope School District's denial, its attorneys - also the Roberts firm - tried the same tactic in Judge Hickey's court. This time, however, the State of Arkansas intervened, and that case remains undecided.

Most recently, the State Board denied claims of exemption for the 2018-19 school year:

All are represented by the Roberts Firm, which upon denial, rushed to its favorite mouthpiece to proclaim the State Board's decision segregative and its actions a "nullification" of federal law.

Not that they matter to the firm, its blog mouthpiece, or the status quo, but here are the facts:

Rather than participating in Inter-district School Choice, which is open to all, the firm's clients have long participated in "Legal Transfers," which require the permission of both the resident and receiving school districts. This method allows the districts to "pick and choose" who gets in or out.

As a result, El Dorado - the go to example of the lawyers and home of the El Dorado Promise (which began in 2007) - routinely denies all transfers from non-resident African-Americans, while accepting nearly all non-resident White students. Conversely, it rarely allows any resident White students to leave, while letting nearly all resident African-American students go.

As a result, since 2009-10, when El Dorado accelerated its acceptance of non-resident White students (from 2 to 103), the district has averaged 68.22 non-resident students - 58.55 White (85.83%), and 5 Black students (7.33%). And yet, the district's attorneys have the audacity to call the State's law segregative. Clearly the districts and their attorneys are valuing creation and defense of artificially created racial percentages over equal access for all. But, over the past 13 years, their actions have done nothing to stem the decline of both White and Black students in each of their districts.


Camden Fairview

Enrollment by Race Total  2 or More Races Asian  Black Hispanic Native American
Native Alaskan 
Native Hawaiian
Pacific Islander 
White  Percentage White 
 2004-05  2,939  0  13  1,856  10  5  0  1,055  35.90%
 2005-06  2,807  0  8  1,802  16  5  0  976  34.77%
 2006-07  2,729  0  7  1,730  21  6  0  965  35.36%
 2007-08  2,576  0  12  1,629  27  4  0  904  35.09%
 2008-09  2,478  0  14  1,581  30  4  0  849  34.26%
 2009-10  2,455  43  17  1,521  26  3  3  842  34.30%
 2010-11  2,438  70  14  1,478  42  0  4  830  34.04%
 2011-12  2,425  81  15  1,481  40  0  4  804  33.15%
 2012-13  2,429  90  13  1,456  44  1  3  822  33.84%
 2013-14  2,437  88  11  1,453  52  1  4  828  33.98%
 2014-15  2,567  102  12  1,553  54  3  4  839  32.68%
 2015-16  2,554  107  11  1,561  54  1  4  816  31.95%
 2016-17  2,511  107  13  1,519  62  1  4  805  32.06%
 2017-18  2,477  114  12  1,495  61  3  3  789  31.85%
 13-Year Numerical   Increase/Decrease  -462  +71  -1  -361  +51  -2  0  -266  
 13-Year Percentage   Increase/Decrease  -15.72%  +165.12%  -9.23%  -19.45%  +500.1%  -40%  0%  -25.21%  
  • The City of Camden is 39.5% White. The district is 31.85% White.
School Choice by Race Total Enrollment 2 or More Races Asian Black Hispanic Native American
Native Alaskan
Native Hawaiian
Pacific Islander
White Total Choice  Percentage White Percentage Enrollment 
 2004-05   2,939  0  0  6  0  0  0  0  6  0%  .20%
 2005-06  2,807  0  0  4  0  0  0  0  4  0%  .14%
 2006-07  2,729  0  0  3  0  0  0  0  3  0%  .11%
 2007-08  2,576  0  0  3  0  0  0  0  3  0%  .12%
 2008-09   2,478  0  0  3  0  0  0  0  3  0%  .12%
 2009-10  2,455  0  0  3  0  0  0  4  7  57.14%  .29%
 2010-11  2,438  0  0  3  0  0  0  3  6  50%  .25%
 2011-12  2,425  0  0  3  0  0  0  2  5  40%  .21%
 2012-13  2,429  0  0  0  0  0  0  2  2  100%  .08%
 2013-14  2,437  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  1  100%  .04%
 2014-15  2,567  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  1  100%  .04%
 2015-16  2,554  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  1  100%  .04%
 2016-17  2,511  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  1  100%  .04%
 2017-18  2,477  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  1  100%  .08%
 13-Year Numerical   Increase/Decrease  -462  0  0  -6  0  0  0  -3  -5  

 13-Year Percentage   Increase/Decrease

 -15.72%  0%  0%  -100%  0%  0%  %  -75%  -83.33%  

 

El Dorado

Enrollment by Race Total 2 or More Races Asian Black Hispanic Native American
Native Alaskan
Native Hawaiian
Pacific Islander
White Percentage White
 2004-05  4,565  0  36  2,489  83  4  0  1,953  42.78%
 2005-06  4,577  0  33  2,495  138  4  0  1,907  41.66%
 2006-07  4,430  0  31  2,461  144  6  0  1,788  40.36%
 2007-08  4,570  0  34  2,480  175  5  0  1,876  41.05%
 2008-09  4,625  0  30  2,463  205  3  0  1,924  41.6%
 2009-10  4,625  30  34  2,416  222  6  0  1,917  41.45%
 2010-11  4,646  36  49  2,365  254  5  0  1,937  41.69%
 2011-12  4,581  52  44  2,309  262  3  0  1,911  41.72%
 2012-13  4,474  77  37  2,246  277  5  0  1,832  40.95%
 2013-14  4,516  101  49  2,256  302  4  0  1,804  39.95%
 2014-15  4,502  111  50  2,216  343  3  0  1,779  39.52%
 2015-16  4,522  135  56  2,220  379  6  0  1,726  38.17%
 2016-17  4,403  130  50  2,154  404  6  3  1,656  37.61%
 2017-18  4,411  123  60  2,162  394  5  0  1,667  37.79%
13-Year Numerical Increase/Decrease  -154  +93  +24  -327  +311  +1  0  -286  

13-Year Percentage Increase/Decrease

 -3.37%  +310%  -66.67%  -13.14%  +374.7%   +25%  0%  -14.64%  

 

  • The City of El Dorado is 44.5% White. The district is 37.79% White.
School Choice by Race Total Enrollment 2 or More Races Asian Black Hispanic Native American
Native Alaskan
Native Hawaiian
Pacific Islander
White Total Choice Percentage White Percentage Enrollment
 2004-05  4,565  0  0  4  0  0  0  0  4  0%  .09%
 2005-06   4,577  0  0  6  0  0  0  0  6  0%  .13%
 2006-07   4,430  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  1  0%  .02%
 2007-08  4,570  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  1  0%  .02%
 2008-09  4,625  0  0  2  0  0  0  0  2  0%  .04%
 2009-10  4,625  1  1  7  2  0  0  92  103  89.32%  2.23%
 2010-11  4,646  1  2  7  3  0  0  88  101  87.13%  2.17%
 2011-12  4,581  1  2  4  1  0  0  68  76  89.47%  1.66%
 2012-13  4,474  1  1  4  1  0  0  53  60  88.33%  1.34%
 2013-14  4,516  2  1  7  2  0  0  56  68  82.35%  1.51%
 2014-15  4,502  3  1  6  2  1  0  48  61  78.69%  1.35%
 2015-16  4,522  3  1  4  2  0  0  45  55  81.82%  1.22%
 2016-17  4,403  2  0  3  2  1  0  40  48  83.33%  1.09%
 2017-18  4,411  2  0  3  0  0  0  37  42  88.1%  .95%
 13-Year Numerical   Increase/Decrease  -154  +1  0  -1  -2  0  0  -55  +38
 13-Year   Percentage     Increase/Decrease  -3.37%  +100%  0%  -25%  -100%  0%  0%  -59.78%  +950%

 

Hope
 
Enrollment by Race Total 2 or More Races Asian Black Hispanic Native American
Native Alaskan
Native Hawaiian
Pacific Islander
White Percentage White
 2004-05  2,767  0  0  1,407  447  4  0  901  32.56%
 2005-06  2,711  0  7  1,371  542  5  0  843  31.1%
 2006-07  2,635  0  5  1,361  542  7  0  720  27.32%
 2007-08  2,601  0  6  1,305  556  9  0  725  27.87%
 2008-09  2,550  0  11  1,255  587  6  0  691  27.1%
 2009-10  2,541  0  12  1,214  634  6  12  663  26.09%
 2010-11  2,493  0  7  1,173  678  5  5  625  25.07%
 2011-12  2,460  0  6  1,153  691  5  2  603  24.51%
 2012-13  2,489  11  9  1,161  706  3  1  598  24.03%
 2013-14  2,489  9  4  1,163  726  3  2  582  23.38%
 2014-15  2,501  10  9  1,157  743  3  0  579  23.15%
 2015-16  2,492  18  8  1,151  773  4  0  538  21.59%
 2016-17  2,349  27  8  1,081  758  2  0  473  20.14%
 2017-18  2,247  33  8  1,022  774  4  0  406  18.07%
 13-Year Numerical
 Increase/Decrease
 -520  +22  +1  -385  +327  0  -12  -495
 13-Year Percentage   Increase/Decrease  -18.79%  +200%  +14.29% -19.45% +500.1%  0%  -100%  -54.94%
  • The only inter-district school choice Hope had for the period was one White student in 2014-15.
  • The City of Hope is 34% White. The district is 18.07% White.
 

Junction City

Enrollment by Race Total 2 or More Races Asian Black Hispanic Native American
Native Alaskan
Native Hawaiian
Pacific Islander
White Percentage White
 2004-05  670  0  0  199  4  2  0  465  69.40%
 2005-06  686  0  0  200  8  2  0  476  69.39%
 2006-07  660  0  0  216  5  1  0  438  66.36%
 2007-08  611  0  0  198  4  2  0  407  66.61%
 2008-09  585  0  0  187  5  1  0  392  67.01%
 2009-10  550  1  0  181  4  1  1  362  65.82%
 2010-11  547  0  0  180  7  1  0  359  65.63%
 2011-12  518  1  0  168  7  1  0  341  65.83%
 2012-13  526  1  0  148  7  1   0  369  70.15%
 2013-14  533  1  0  156  7  1  0  368  69.04%
 2014-15  679  0  0  252  13  1  0  413  60.82%
 2015-16  660  0  1  248  17  1  0  393  59.55%
 2016-17  680  0  0  269  14  1  0  396  58.24%
 2017-18  673  0  2  253  20  2  0  396  58.84%
 13-Year Numerical
 Increase/Decrease
 +3  -1  +1  +54  +16  0  0  +69

 13-Year   Percentage
 Increase/Decrease

 +.44%  -100%  +100%  +28.42%  +400%  0%  0%  +14.84%

 

  • The City of Junction City is 53% White. The district is 58.84% White.
School Choice by Race Total Enrollment 2 or More Races Asian Black Hispanic Native American
Native Alaskan
Native Hawaiian
Pacific Islander
White Total Choice Percentage White Percentage Enrollment
 2004-05  670  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0%  0%
 2005-06  686  0  0  5  0  0  0  0  5  0%  .73%
 2006-07  660  0  0  9  1  0  0  0  10  0%  1.52%
 2007-08  611  0  0  5  1  0  0  0  6  0%  .98%
 2008-09  585  0  0  3  1  0  0  0  4  0%  .68%
 2009-10  550  0  0  3  0  0  0  1  4  .18%  .73%
 2010-11  547  0  0  7  0  0  0  3  10  .55%  1.83%
 2011-12  518  0  0  6  0  0  0  0  6  0%  1.16%
 2012-13  526  0  0  6  0  0  0  2  8  .38%  1.52%
 2013-14  533  0  0  6  0  0  0  2  8  .38%  1.5%
 2014-15  679  0  0  5  0  0  0  2  7  .29%  1.03%
 2015-16  660  0  0  3  0  0  0  0  3  0%  .45%
 2016-17  680  0  0  2  0  0  0  0  2  0%  .29%
 2017-18  673  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  1  0%  .15%
 13-Year Numerical   Increase/Decrease  +3  0 0  -4  -1  0  0  -1  -4
 13-Year Percentage    Increase/Decrease  +.44%  0% 0%  -80%  -100% 0%  0%  -100%  -80%
  • Junction City enrollment grew 27.4% (+146 students) between 2013-14 and 2014-15 - +96 Black and +45 White. The district accepts Louisiana residents, a School Choice right it denies Arkansans. Inexplicably, it includes those students in its enrollment total.
 
Lafayette County

Enrollment by Race Total 2 or More Races Asian Black Hispanic Native American
Native Alaskan
Native Hawaiian
Pacific Islander
White Percentage White
 2004-05  993  0  0  576  8  0  0  409  41.19%
 2005-06  933  0  3  551  2  0  0  377  40.41%
 2006-07   921  0  2  563  4  2  0  350  38%
 2007-08  876  0  2  530  9  1  0  334  38.13%
 2008-09  771  0  2  498  6  1  0  264  34.24%
 2009-10  801  9  2  495  14  0  1  280  34.96%
 2010-11  763  11  2  468  11  0  0  271  35.52%
 2011-12  681  13  1  409  15  0  0  243  35.68%
 2012-13  704  9  0  422  15  0  0  258  36.65%
 2013-14  689  11  0  390  16  0  0  272  39.48%
 2014-15  648  10  0  392  14  0  0  232  35.80%
 2015-16  628  10  0  389  19  0  0  210  33.44%
 2016-17  583  11  2  369  13  0  0  188  32.24%
 2017-18  583  14  1  356  17  0  0  195  33.45%
 13-Year Numerical
 Increase/Decrease
 -410  +5  -2  -220  +9  -2  -1  -214

 13-Year Percentage   Increase/Decrease

 -42.29%  +55.56%  -66.67%  -38.19%  +112.5%  -100%  -100%  -52.32%
  • The only inter-district school choice Lafayette County had for the period was one Black student in 2004-05.
  • Lafayette County is 59% White. The district is 33.45% White.

Quick Facts

  • The Roberts Firm-represented districts - excepting Junction City's inexplicable increase - lost more Black (-1,293) than White students (-1,261)
  • The Roberts Firm-represented districts currently have more White (+38) non-resident transfer students, than Black (+4)
  • The Roberts Firm-represented districts - excepting Junction City's Louisiana enrollment - have declined in enrollment 1,546 students (-13.73%)
  • The Roberts Firm-represented Junction City is 58.84% White, while the City is only 53%. There are only two demographic reasons to exempt from School Choice - Keep some students in; keep some students out.
  • The Roberts Firm-represented Hope has a 16 point gap between its City's White percentage (34%) and its district's (18.07%). Using the Roberts Firm's logic, exemption from School Choice has fomented White Flight.
  • The Roberts Firm-represented Lafayette County has a 27 point gap between the county's White percentage (59%) and its districts (33.45%). Using the Roberts Firm's logic, exemption from School Choice has fomented White Flight.

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