Arizona educators ponder effect of high court's ruling on schools 
Arizona Republic
Jun. 29, 2007

Pat Kossan

Arizona educators are unsure how Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court decision will affect the state's schools.

The complex, split decision shuts down efforts to keep school populations racially mixed in Seattle and Louisville, Ky. It doesn't, however, completely restrict school districts from using race as at least a part of their plans to keep classrooms diverse, said Toni Massaro, dean of the University of Arizona law school.

It also allows schools to continue to use race-neutral criteria, such as family income, to create balanced classrooms, she said.

Tempe Elementary District Superintendent Arthur Tate is studying how this
decision will affect 620 students who are bused to different schools as part
of a settlement to end a federal civil rights complaint.

"We are studying the ruling and what it will mean for our students, district
and community," Tate said.

Casa Grande Elementary remains one of the few state districts that
voluntarily draw school boundaries to make sure classrooms are racially
balanced and reflect the district's population. The district is 52 percent
Latino, 35 percent Anglo and 13 percent Native American and Black.

"I don't anticipate it's going to have an affect on decisions we make on
school-site selection," Superintendent Frank Davidson said.

In Arizona, 19 school districts collect extra property taxes to remedy
federal civil right complaints, some of which are 20 years old. The taxes
are routinely called "desegregation funds," but most of the complaints were
not about integrating schools but, rather, about a lack of programs to help
students still learning English.

The Supreme Court ruling will not stop the collection of these taxes to
settle federal complaints, said Kevin McCarthy of the Arizona Tax Research