Desegregation case dismissed

LOUISVILLE, Ga. --- Schools in Jefferson County are operating this fall for the first time in nearly 40 years without the supervision of a federal judge overseeing a desegregation lawsuit.

School Board Superintendent Carl Bethune announced recently that in July U.S. District Court Judge Dudley Bowen dismissed a 1969 suit against the county's school system.

Judge Bowen reviewed the seven areas listed in the original suit, including facilities, resources, transportation, administrative staff assignment, extracurricular activities, faculty assignments and student assignments. He concluded that the school board and administrators provide those services equally to students of all races and that the staff makeup is diverse.

Over the past several years, the Jefferson County school board has created a plan to improve the county's school system through reorganization and consolidation, Mr. Bethune said.

"The board saw the need to capitalize on being a small system and wanted to function more as one entity, rather than as six separate schools," Mr. Bethune said in a press release.

Jimmy Fleming, the chairman of the county's school board, was pleased that the court recognized the improvements.

"This is a great day for the Jefferson County School System and is the culmination of years of planning, implementation and much hard work. We should all be very proud of the school system's progress," he said.

Mr. Bethune said the system won't fall back into bad habits now that the judge is no longer looking over its shoulder.