Teague v. Ark. Bd. of Educ., No. 10–6098.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Arkansas
Writing for the CourtROBERT T. DAWSON
Citation873 F.Supp.2d 1055
PartiesRon and Kathy TEAGUE, on and behalf of minor children, T.T. and S.T.; Darrin and Julie Hardy, on and behalf of minor child, C.H.; Rhonda Richardson on and behalf of minor child A.R.; Mark and Jennifer Draper on and behalf of minor children, A.D. and S.D., Plaintiffs v. ARKANSAS BOARD OF EDUCATION; Jim Cooper, Brenda Gullett, Samuel Ledbetter, Alice Mahony, Dr. Ben Mays, Joe Black, Toyce Newton, Mireya Reith, and Vicki Saviers, in their official capacity; Magnet Cove School District; Karen Scott, Danny Linam, Lisa Loftis, Kim Bray, and Jack Rynders, in their official capacity; The Arkansas Department of Education, Defendants Camden Fairview School District No. 16 of Ouachita County; El Dorado School District # 15, Union County, AR, Intervenors.
Decision Date08 June 2012
Docket NumberNo. 10–6098.

873 F.Supp.2d 1055

Ron and Kathy TEAGUE, on and behalf of minor children, T.T. and S.T.; Darrin and Julie Hardy, on and behalf of minor child, C.H.; Rhonda Richardson on and behalf of minor child A.R.; Mark and Jennifer Draper on and behalf of minor children, A.D. and S.D., Plaintiffs
v.
ARKANSAS BOARD OF EDUCATION; Jim Cooper, Brenda Gullett, Samuel Ledbetter, Alice Mahony, Dr. Ben Mays, Joe Black, Toyce Newton, Mireya Reith, and Vicki Saviers, in their official capacity; Magnet Cove School District; Karen Scott, Danny Linam, Lisa Loftis, Kim Bray, and Jack Rynders, in their official capacity; The Arkansas Department of Education, Defendants
Camden Fairview School District No. 16 of Ouachita County; El Dorado School District # 15, Union County, AR, Intervenors.

No. 10–6098.

United States District Court,
W.D. Arkansas,
Hot Springs Division.

June 8, 2012.






Held Unconstitutional


West's A.C.A. § 6-18-206

[873 F.Supp.2d 1056]

Andrea L. Davis, Andi Davis Law Firm, P.A., Hot Springs, AR, Jess L. Askew, III, Williams & Anderson PLC, Little Rock, AR, for Plaintiffs.


Scott P. Richardson, Arkansas Attorney General, Little Rock, AR, William C. Brazil, Brazil, Adlong & Winningham, Conway, AR, for Defendants.

Allen P. Roberts, Attorney at Law, Camden, AR, David M. Fuqua, Whitney F. Moore, Hope, Fuqua & Campbell, P.A., Little Rock, AR, for Intervenors.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

ROBERT T. DAWSON, District Judge.

Some 32 years after the Little Rock School integration crisis made international headlines, the Arkansas Legislature adopted a statute that was hoped would help in stemming segregation in its public schools. That statute included a provision that would prevent its schools from becoming more segregated while permitting students to transfer to schools outside their home districts. It could be argued that no

[873 F.Supp.2d 1057]

state has been scrutinized as much as Arkansas with respect to the integration and segregation of its public schools. The legislation was intended to permit the free transfer of students within its school districts provided that the transfers did not adversely impact the racial make-up of the school district receiving the transferring students. The legislature was no doubt properly motivated in its desire to end segregation, but the question that must be addressed is whether the legislation infringes on federally protected rights. There was no litigation concerning this statute until litigation was filed in this Court.

Plaintiffs contend that this race-based restriction on the ability of students to transfer between school districts contained in the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 1989, Arkansas Code § 6–18–206, is unconstitutional 1. Specifically, Plaintiffs contend that Ark.Code Ann. 6–18–206(f) violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Currently before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion for Entry of Judgment for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Brief in Support (Docs. 69, 70), State Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and Brief in Support (Docs. 71, 72), Intervenors' Motion for Summary Judgment and Brief in Support (Docs. 74, 75) and related documents, responses and replies. The Court 2 heard oral arguments on these motions based on stipulated facts on April 16, 2012.

I. Background

This matter originated with a lawsuit filed in this Court on October 21, 2008. In Hardy et al. v. Malvern School District et al., Plaintiffs/Parents filed suit against the Malvern School District, its board members, and the Arkansas State Board of Education (“ASBE”). No. 08–CV–6094, 2010 WL 956696 (W.D.Ark. March 16, 2010). The Court found that the Malvern School District was entitled to summary judgment because the undisputed material facts demonstrated that it played no role in the enforcement of Ark.Code Ann. § 6–18–206(f) against Plaintiffs and that Plaintiffs' claims against the members of the ASBE were barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Based on these holdings, the Court did not reach the issues of whether Ark.Code Ann. § 6–18–206(f) is unconstitutional severable from the remainder of the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 1989. The instant action was filed on December 21, 2010, the matter is fully briefed and these issues are now before the Court 3.

II. Standard of Review

Summary judgment is appropriate when, viewing the facts and inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, “ ‘the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.’ ” Best Buy Stores, L.P. v. Benderson–Wainberg Associates, 668 F.3d 1019, 1026 (8th Cir.2012) ( quoting

[873 F.Supp.2d 1058]

Alvarez v. Des Moines Bolt Supply, Inc., 626 F.3d 410, 416 (8th Cir.2010)) (quoting Fed. R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2)). Here, the parties have submitted stipulations as to the claims, parties and facts, including census and school enrollment data, desegregation cases around the state and choice transfers in Arkansas. Intervenors provided “expert” 4 reports from Dr. Jerry Guess, Camden Fairview School District Superintendent, Bob Watson, El Dorado School District Superintendent and Griffin J. Stockley, author and historian on race. Because there are no issues of material fact in dispute, disposition by summary judgment is appropriate.

III. Arkansas Public School Choice

In Arkansas, children between the ages of 5 and 17 are required to attend either public, private, parochial or home school. Ark.Code Ann. § 6–18–201. The general rule in the State is that parents who send their children to public school must do so in the district in which they live. Ark.Code. Ann. § 6–18–202. There are exceptions to this rule.

If a parent works at least half-time at a public school in another district, their child may attend school in the district in which the parent works instead of the district in which they reside. Ark.Code Ann. § 6–18–203(b)(1)5. If, however, unforeseen circumstances result in a finding by a court that a school district is unlawfully segregated as a result of children attending school where their parents work, then the children must attend their resident district.

A high school student can attend up to 50% of his or her classes in another district if the courses they need to meet their educational objectives are not available in the resident district. Ark.Code Ann. § 6–18–204(b)(2)6. A student may also attend a school outside their resident district if they are enrolled in an alternative education program, secondary area vocational center or community-based education program, as long as there is a compact between the resident and receiving districts. Ark.Code Ann. § 6–18–204(c). These statutes permit a student to be directly enrolled in a non-resident school district. In order to qualify for attendance under this provision, the student is required to file a projected course of study with his or her principal or school counselor and receive the receiving district's permission. Ark.Code Ann. § 6–18–204(b)(3). In addition, the resident district must pay tuition to the receiving district. Ark.Code Ann. § 6–18–204(b)(4).

Children who live at least fifteen miles from the school in their resident district but within seven miles of a school in an adjoining district may petition their resident district for a transfer to the adjoining district. Ark.Code Ann. § 6–18–307(a)(1)7.

A student may petition to transfer from one school district to another with the permission of both his or her resident and receiving school districts. Ark.Code Ann. § 6–18–3168. This “legal transfer” of a student from one district to another places the responsibility for the education of the student on the receiving district and permits the receiving district to count these children in average daily membership for state aid money, but does not transfer

[873 F.Supp.2d 1059]

local tax money from the resident district. Tuition may be charged to either the parent or resident district. These transfers are reviewed every four years for renewal consideration. Ark.Code Ann. § 6–18–316(d)– (g). Legal transfers are prohibited when either the resident or the receiving district is under a desegregation-related court order or has ever been under such an order and when the transfer would negatively affect the racial balance of that district which is or has been under that order. Ark.Code Ann. § 6–18–317(a)(1)–(2). A district not currently under a desegregation-related court order but which has been under such an order in the past may apply for a waiver. Ark.Code Ann. § 6–18–3189.

Following the enactment of the previous Acts, the legislature created the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 1989. Ark.Code Ann. § 6–18–20610. The Arkansas Public School Choice Act sets out the findings and objectives of its drafters:

The General Assembly finds that the students in Arkansas's public schools and their parents will become more informed about and involved in the public educational system if students and their parents or guardians are provided greater freedom to determine the most effective school for meeting their individual educational needs. There is no right school for every student, and permitting students to choose from among different schools with differing assets will increase the likelihood that some marginal students will stay in school and that other, more motivated students will find their full academic potential.

The General Assembly further finds that giving more options to parents and students with respect to where the students attend public school will increase the responsiveness and effectiveness of the state's schools since teachers, administrators, and school board members will have added incentive to satisfy the educational needs of the students who reside in the district.

The General Assembly therefore finds that these benefits of enhanced quality and...

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7 practice notes
  • Stevenson v. Blytheville Sch. Dist. No. 5, Case No. 3:13CV00127 KGB.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Arkansas
    • July 1, 2013
    ...the 2013 Act, much history predates the current version of the 2013 Act. See generally Teague et al. v. Arkansas Board of Education, 873 F.Supp.2d 1055 (W.D.Ark.2012) (discussing the history of school choice legislation in Arkansas and finding unconstitutional a prior version of Arkansas's ......
  • United States v. Junction City Sch. Dist., No. 19-1340
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • December 31, 2020
    ...Clause ... and [ ] permanently enjoin[ed] the State of Arkansas from applying" it. Teague ex rel. T.T. v. Arkansas Bd. of Educ., 873 F. Supp. 2d 1055, 1068 (W.D. Ark. 2012). Any harm here is only traceable to Arkansas's attempt to comply with federal law, so the district court's modificatio......
  • United States v. Junction City Sch. Dist., 19-1340
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • August 25, 2021
    ...resident district." Id.In 2012, a district court in Arkansas struck down the 1989 Act. See Teague ex rel. TT v. Ark. Bd. of Educ., 873 F. Supp. 2d 1055 (W.D. Ark. 2012). It concluded that, because the 1989 Act "base[d] enrollment or transfer options solely on race," it violated the Equal Pr......
  • Rice v. Union Pac. R.R. Co., No. 4:12–cv–00108–SWW.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Eastern District of Arkansas
    • June 8, 2012
    ...of Gunderson caused Clark's accident, Gunderson is not strictly liable under the Track Lease Agreement, and the negligence of Union [873 F.Supp.2d 1055]Pacific contributed to Clark's accident. As Gunderson has already agreed and been ordered to pay $575,000 of the settlement in indemnificat......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • Stevenson v. Blytheville Sch. Dist. No. 5, Case No. 3:13CV00127 KGB.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Arkansas
    • July 1, 2013
    ...the 2013 Act, much history predates the current version of the 2013 Act. See generally Teague et al. v. Arkansas Board of Education, 873 F.Supp.2d 1055 (W.D.Ark.2012) (discussing the history of school choice legislation in Arkansas and finding unconstitutional a prior version of Arkansas's ......
  • United States v. Junction City Sch. Dist., No. 19-1340
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • December 31, 2020
    ...Clause ... and [ ] permanently enjoin[ed] the State of Arkansas from applying" it. Teague ex rel. T.T. v. Arkansas Bd. of Educ., 873 F. Supp. 2d 1055, 1068 (W.D. Ark. 2012). Any harm here is only traceable to Arkansas's attempt to comply with federal law, so the district court's modificatio......
  • United States v. Junction City Sch. Dist., 19-1340
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • August 25, 2021
    ...resident district." Id.In 2012, a district court in Arkansas struck down the 1989 Act. See Teague ex rel. TT v. Ark. Bd. of Educ., 873 F. Supp. 2d 1055 (W.D. Ark. 2012). It concluded that, because the 1989 Act "base[d] enrollment or transfer options solely on race," it violated the Equal Pr......
  • Rice v. Union Pac. R.R. Co., No. 4:12–cv–00108–SWW.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Eastern District of Arkansas
    • June 8, 2012
    ...of Gunderson caused Clark's accident, Gunderson is not strictly liable under the Track Lease Agreement, and the negligence of Union [873 F.Supp.2d 1055]Pacific contributed to Clark's accident. As Gunderson has already agreed and been ordered to pay $575,000 of the settlement in indemnificat......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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