Cynthia Howell reported extensively in this morning’s Democrat-Gazette (paywall) on U.S. District Judge Price Marshall’s order Thursday in the Pulaski County Special School District desegregation suit, which effectively throttled back the pace of the ongoing detachment of the newly created — but not yet fully separated — Jacksonville School District from the PCSSD.
At issue are the matters on which PCSSD has yet to reach unitary status in the decades-old desegregation case: facilities, staff, student discipline and student achievement. Marshall said that in regards to those questions, PCSSD Superintendent Jerry Guess — rather than the new administration in Jacksonville — still has final authority.
Howell writes that the order fell out of a dispute between PCSSD and the nascent Jacksonville district regarding a staffing decision over an assistant superintendent. Jacksonville evidently planned to hire a white candidate over a black one with a higher score from an interview committee.
Guess, mindful of the imperatives of the ongoing desegregation order in regards to staffing, said ‘no’ to that decision. And yesterday, Marshall backed him up.
The bigger and thornier issue remains the question of building improvements for the new Jacksonville district at a time when both local and state money for facilities in PCSSD is hard to come by (for background, read this post from Max in April).
Guess was appointed superintendent of PCSSD by the state Board of Education in 2011 after the state seized control of the Pulaski County district.
Here’s more on Marshall’s ruling yesterday from KUAR’s Sarah Whites-Koditschek.