AG McDaniel sets strict deadline or desegregation deal is off

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -- Even though three centralArkansas school districts approved a desegregation funding settlement with thestate, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is setting a new deadline.

McDaniel said he needs to know within thenext few days if the Little Rock School District stands with the state'ssettlement or will wait on a decision by a group of parents suing the district.

Thursday we reported asettlement was reached, and all three school boards approved it, but nothing isset in stone. Friday McDaniel set a deadline for Tuesday at midnight to receivea commitment from LRSD, or this deal is off.

"I think it'sapparent Joshua (Intervenors) is not, and I don't see any reason to believethat they will be, so what I need is for Little Rock School District toauthorize their lawyer to go on whether he is in it or not," McDaniel said to asubcommittee on desegregation litigation, Friday.

He's speaking about themotion made by Little Rock School Board to go forward in the settlement even ifthe "Joshua Intervenors," are not on board. The board offered up a motion, but decidedto take no action.

"It's simply they'vebeen silent on that point, and they need to speak to it. If they want to give Joshua(Intervenors) veto power over what they do, then that's their decision. I hopethey will join with us whether he does or not," McDaniel added.

A timetable is importantbecause the settlement must be signed by Governor Mike Beebe before it can befiled in federal court. However, Beebe has said he will not sign off on asettlement if it impacts the December 9 court date.

"They've got twooptions: they can vote to go with the other districts in the state, or they canvote to go with Joshua," McDaniel made it clear to reporters after thesubcommittee meeting.

McDaniel said if thisgoes to court, the districts have the most to lose because future funding couldbe over.

Little rock School Districtspokesperson Pam Smith told Channel 7 Friday that a special-called boardmeeting is set for Monday at 7:30 pm to address the deadline.