Little Rock desegregation plans go back to court

By NOMAAN MERCHANT | September 17, 2011 | 1:10 PM EDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — More than a half-century after federal troops escorted nine black students into an all-white school, efforts to desegregate Little Rock's classrooms are at another turning point.

The state wants to end its long-running payments for desegregation programs, but three school districts that receive the money say they need it to continue key programs. And a federal judge has accused the schools of delaying desegregation so they can keep receiving an annual infusion of $70 million.

A federal appeals court will hear arguments Monday from both sides. Eventually, the judges are expected to decide whether Arkansas still has to make the payments and whether two of the districts should remain under court supervision.