Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Last year, plaintiffs challenged an Arkansas statute that permitted students to transfer to schools outside their district, but limited the students who could transfer. In particular, the statute indicated that:
No student may transfer to a nonresident district where the percentage of enrollment for the student's race exceeds that percentage in the student's race except in the circumstances set forth in subdivisions (f)(2) and (3) of this section
In Teague ex rel. T.T. v. Arkansas Bd. of Educ., 873 F.Supp.2d 1055 (W.D.Ark. 2012), the court applied strict scrutiny and found that the state had a compelling interest in avoiding racial isolation but that the statute was not narrowly tailored. Thus, it struck down the statute.
The legislature then amended the statute. The new statute effectively permits all students to tranfer, but allows districts that are under desegregation orders to opt out of the transfer program, so as to prevent transfers from interfering with their other obligations under law. Another set of plaintiffs have challenged this new statute. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss based on standing and jurisdiction, which the court granted in part and denied in part. Stevenson v. Blytheville School Dist. No. 5, 2013 WL 3324050 (E.D.Ark. 2013). The court did not address any substantive issues, but for the meantime has permitted the case to move forward.