Desegregation case still pending in federal court - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Desegregation case still pending in federal court

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AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

A desegregation case filed against the Richmond County School Board of Education nearly 49 years ago is still pending a ruling. District Court Judge Dudley Bowen held a hearing in federal court Monday to determine if this case is still relevant.

"[Richmond County School System] is not where it was; there might have been a need before," said Superintendent Dr. Frank Roberson.  

Dr. Roberson is ready to move past a desegregation case that has been haunting the school system since it was filed by Robert Acree in 1964.

"The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the black students in the Richmond County School System," said Attorney Ben Allen.  

Richmond County once had segregated schools where funding was not allocated fairly.

"It showed itself in terms of books, in terms of facilities, maintenance facilities," said Allen.  

FOX54 was inside the courtroom Monday as the defense provided evidence and witnesses to show race is no longer a factor in any of these areas.

"We provided documentation showing that we have made tremendous progress on standards and that decisions are not made based on ethnicity," said Cheryl Jones, Asst. Superintendent for Elementary Education.

Judge Bowen decided against making a decision during Monday's hearing, he will take the next couple of days to review all of the evidence that was presented. However, representatives from both sides of the case believe it will be dismissed.

"A strong argument can be made the lawsuit has outlived its youthfulness," said Allen.  

"I'm tickled to death that it appears that a favorable decision is going to come which is to lift that order," said Dr. Roberson.

A controversial decision that some believe is why a ruling has yet to be made but Judge Bowen said he will be the fourth and final judge with this case.

A ruling could be made as early as Friday.

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