Tennessee County Settles Desegregation Case

     (CN) – Robertson County, Tenn. reached a settlement agreement with the federal government to continue to desegregate its school system, advancing a plan that was set in motion earlier this year.
     The deal, which revises assignment plans for middle and high school students in the district, was announced by the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday. It also requires the development of a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math magnet program at a county middle school, according to a press release.
     The STEM program will based at Springfield Middle School but will be open to all county district students. It is supposed to be ready for the 2016-2017 school year, the press release states.
     The agreed-upon secondary student assignment plan details arrangements for the STEM program. Robertson County Schools is required to hire a consultant for the magnet program, apply for a grant to help fund it, and implement a marketing and recruitment strategy for the program, the plan states.
     If enrollment in the STEM magnet program doesn’t reach 25 percent enrollment of students outside the Springfield Middle School zone by the 2017-2018 school year, Robertson County Schools will have to revise its attendance zones to further desegregation, according to the assignment plan.
     This week’s agreement was a condition of a prior deal from February. The earlier agreement also included rezoning for elementary school students, according to the Robertson County Schools website.
     Vanita Gupta of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division applauded the school district for its efforts.
     “I commend the Robertson County school board for unanimously approving this agreement to advance educational opportunities for all students,” Gupta said in a statement. “The Justice Department is committed to working with Robertson County Schools to effectively implement the agreement and fulfill the district’s obligations to desegregate.”

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