The U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday it has entered into a settlement agreement with a south Georgia school district to ensure desegregation of the district's faculty and staff.
If approved by the court, the consent order between the federal government and Valdosta City Schools would modify and extend the terms of a 2008 court order. That order required the district to eliminate racial disparities in how teachers and staff were assigned to the district's schools and to try to recruit black personnel, among other things.
Superintendent William Cason said Tuesday he has made the desegregation order a priority since taking over the district four years ago.
The Justice Department determined the school made significant progress in desegregating its faculty and certified staff but failed to fully meet the goals in the order, hiring more white teachers at a middle school.
"We applaud the Valdosta City Schools for agreeing to take prompt voluntary corrective actions to ensure that it fully meets its desegregation obligations by the start of the next school year," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Civil Rights Division will continue to work to ensure that Valdosta and all school districts under federal desegregation orders fully eliminate the vestiges of segregation in their schools, including in the hiring and assignment of their faculty and staff."
The school desegregation lawsuit was initiated by the federal government in November 1970, and the district was ordered in April 1971 to implement a desegregation plan, according to court documents. Parts of the plan have been modified by several court orders over the years. The lawsuit stemmed from enforcement of the Equal Protection Clause and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in school districts.