Speed vs. Fairness in Desegregation

St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), July 27, 1996 | Go to article overview

Speed vs. Fairness in Desegregation


Frustrated by slow progress on his motion to end the area's voluntary school desegregation plan, Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon has asked the federal court to speed the process along. But the children in the program should not be cheated out of their chance to complete it until the facts in the case have been fully evaluated.

On Wednesday, Mr. Nixon asked that U.S. District George F. Gunn Jr. set a time limit for completion of settlement negotiations being coordinated by Dr. William H. Danforth, former chancellor of Washington University. Judge Gunn named Dr. Danforth the settlement coordinator following a three-week trial earlier this year. Mr. Nixon also asked that no new students be allowed to enter the desegregation program this fall and that students already in the program be allowed to proceed no further than the building in which they are already enrolled.

That latter solution is what Mr. Nixon has been seeking all along. He wants to get Missouri out of its financial responsibility for de segregation, which he says costs the state $2.9 million a week. According to his analysis of U.S. Supreme Court decisions, including one last year in the Kansas City school desegregation case, the interdistrict parts of the St. Louis plan should end. "With each passing day," the filing says, "more and more students are being recruited into a program that, under the law, cannot continue. …

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