Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bill Holds Key for Future of Busing Program Plan for Distributing Money Could Make Negotiations Easier

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bill Holds Key for Future of Busing Program Plan for Distributing Money Could Make Negotiations Easier

Article excerpt

DON'T COUNT ON ANYTHING happening soon in the ongoing settlement talks involving the St. Louis desegregation case.

That's because most of the parties in the case are waiting to see what happens to a bill before the Legislature that would redistribute desegregation savings to school districts with high numbers of poor children.

Some think passage of the bill is key to resolving the desegregation case because it would provide money to the St. Louis Public Schools. But the bill would not provide money for new schools that would be needed if the city-county transfer program ends, nor would it provide for transportation if some or all of the student transfer program remains. One of those watching to see what happens to the bill (SB360) is William H. Danforth, former chancellor of Washington University. It's been almost exactly a year since Danforth was asked to try to reach a settlement agreement with all the parties in the case. "I would think Senate Bill 360 would certainly make the negotiations m ore easy," said Danforth, whose brother, former Sen. John C. Danforth, masterminded the bill. He said the negotiations are continuing. "The parties are talking with each other and working to try to arrive at a settlement that is fair to everybody and in the best interests of the children," he said. Even if the bill passes, Danforth said he couldn't predict how much longer the settlement talks would go on. "I'm sure we'll know in a reasonable amount of time whether we can reach agreement or not," he said. Danforth emphasized that his job is to help the parties reach agreement, not to try to make one happen on his own. One of the problems in trying to resolve the case is that there are so many people involved. When they sit down to talk, there are up to 20 attorneys in the room representing the city parents who originally filed the suit, the St. …

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