Follow the Money

Last week, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Cynthia Howell reported that Representative John Walker, attorney for the class of black students known as the Joshua Intervenors, and Allen Roberts, attorney for the Pulaski County Special School District, jointly asked U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall Jr. to approve the payment of $875,000 as compensation to the intervenors for 20 years of litigation and their “monitoring and enforcement” of the district’s desegregation plan.

Yesterday (October 31st), Representative Walker filed a similar request in regard to the North Little Rock School District for $209,690.58 for work dating back to 1998. The figure represents a claimed 50% reduction from $419,381.25, based on the following fee schedule:

  • John W. Walker ($400 per hour)
  • Austin Porter ($300 per hour)
  • Robert Pressman ($325 per hour)
  • Joy C. Springer ($125 per hour)

That’s just under $1.1 million from the two districts. This time.

And since the lawsuit was filed, how has desegregation gone in North Little Rock? Thirty years ago, the percentage difference between black and white students in the North Little Rock School District was 28 points white over black. In 2010, it was 27 points black over white. Same segregation; different race.

As for Pulaski County, it has lost 37% (10,202 students) over the past 30 years. Through annexation losses to other districts, administrative mismanagement, financial distress, and now state takeover, Pulaski County may be more diverse, but to what end. Certainly not excellence.

Seems like our “monitors and enforcers” could have used a little “monitoring and enforcement” of their own. Can’t wait to see the bill for Little Rock, which initiated the never-ending case back in 1982.

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