By Louie Graves
The Mineral Springs School District will appeal dismissal of its lawsuit against the Arkansas Department of Education.
The lawsuit, filed Feb. 29, 2016, in federal court, was dismissed in late September by the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas.
On Oct. 18, 2017, the dismissal was appealed by the school district. Complainants are then-Supt. Curtis Turner and the MS School Board.
The lawsuit alleges that the department of education and Hempstead County unfairly kept funds from the district, causing it to be designated in fiscal distress.
The result, the lawsuit continued, was the state’s takeover of the district and “white flight” from the district to the adjacent Nashville School District.
The original filing described the Nashville district as a “white flight” district which accepted white students and “recruited” black athletes from the Mineral Springs district.
Federal District Judge D.P. Marshall Jr. dismissed the lawsuit. The attorney for the district is civil rights activist John W. Walker of Little Rock.
Then-Supt. Turner came to the district, appointed by the ADE in its fiscal distress takeover.
He has since retired, but has stayed on in a reduced capacity. The new superintendent is Thelma Forte.
Defendants include the state education commissioner and state board of education, state department of education, and Hempstead County.
The appeal will be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Eighth Circuit.