Supreme Court Casts Doubt on Kansas City School Desegregation Plan

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Supreme Court Casts Doubt on Kansas City School Desegregation Plan.

WASHINGTON, DC -- Desegregation efforts in Kansas City, MO suffered a major setback June 12, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a lower federal court had improperly ordered the state to help pay for state-of-the-art magnet schools and salary hikes for teachers and staff.

The 5-4 decision, written by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, said the magnet school plan, designed to attract white students to the mostly Black Kansas City School District, was too sweeping, thus reversing a federal appeals court order that Missouri must continue paying for salary hikes for non-teaching employees and for educational improvements.

"I think it will be an educational loss. It'll be a loss in interracial contact among children in the Kansas City metropolitan area," said Arthur Benson, lead attorney for the African-American parents who sued in 1977 claiming their children had been denied equal educational opportunities, conceding partial defeat.

The plan to desegregate Kansas City's schools has been described as the most expensive in the nation. Dr. Eugene Eubanks, a professor of education and urban affairs at the University of Missouri Kansas City, who helped craft the desegregation plan, said the high court ruling was "not good for the school district."

"It has the potential to reduce the resources for Black students, and consequently that will have an impact on the quality of education they receive, and that will impact the competitiveness in the contest of getting into institutions of higher education," says Eubanks.

"This is not good news for a school district that has a 75-percent minority population, 69 percent of which is African American," added Eubanks. …