School district denied extension
by Chance Wright
Sep 26, 2012 | 1921 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Senior Judge Glen H. Davidson of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi has denied the 30-day extension request filed on behalf of the Cleveland School District on Sept. 12.

According to Davidson's signed order, "The Court finds that an extension of 20-days is proper. Therefore, it is ordered that the Cleveland School District shall confer with the government and file its response to the government's objections to the proposed plan to on or before Wednesday."

The proposed plan that Davidson is referring to is the district's plan to desegregate East Side High School and D.M. Smith Middle School. The plan was filed in Davidson's court back in May.

In the school district's proposal that was submitted to the court on May 15 and reported on again on Aug. 17, the district proposed to introduce "magnet" programs at both East Side High School and D.M. Smith Middle School to help attract white students from Cleveland High School and Margaret Green Jr. High.

"The district believes that its current Majority to Minority Program together with the ongoing magnet school programs are serving to increase diversity at our district schools," said the Aug. 17 order from the school district.

"The Majority to Minority Program and the Magnet Schools Program has resulted in integrated student populations at Cleveland High School, MGJH, Pearman Elementary, Parks Elementary, Bell Elementary and Hayes Cooper Elementary."

The United States Department of Justice did not agree with the district and a motion was filed in Davidson's court to either have the district propose a new feasible plan of desegregation or schedule a trial hearing on the matter.

"This desegregation case has now been pending for more that 47 years, during which time the district has failed to achieve the court's directive to integrate its schools as soon as possible," said U.S. Attorney Felicia C. Adams in the objection paperwork.

"Given the court's mandate to desegregate Cleveland schools and the district's well documented inability to integrate East Side and D.M. Smith through voluntary measures, the absence of any contingency plan for integrating these schools if the new magnet programs fail to achieve their objective should compel the court's rejection of this proposal," said Adams.

In conclusion, the United States asked that the court reject the current plan of the district and order it to "devise a new plan that ensures East Side and D.M. Smith will be full integrated by the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.

The Bolivar Commercial will have more on this case as it is made available.