Hearing could end of Arkansas desegregation aid

Associated Press
FILE - In the Sept. 10, 2012 file photo, people walk out of Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Ark. If an agreement holds, one of the nation’s most historic school desegregation efforts could soon near an end after decades of court battles and $1 billion of aid to Little Rock schools. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal judge in Arkansas is hearing arguments about whether to approve a settlement agreement that would allow the state to stop making payments to help fund racial integration in three Little Rock-area school districts.

U.S. District Judge Price Marshall was considering Monday whether the state's plan to end $70 million in annual payments in 2018 is fair to the districts, students and employees.

The state has contributed more than $1 billion toward the districts' desegration efforts and wants to end the payments as soon as possible. The settlement would end decades of court battles over the issue.

Attorneys on both sides say they don't see any reason why Marshall would reject the agreement, after he tentatively approved it in November.