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US judge: Panel reviewing programs at Ark. schools involved in desegregation case will end

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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — A federal judge says a panel that reviews magnet school programs for three central Arkansas school districts involved in a long-running desegregation battle will cease to exist this summer.

U.S. District Judge Price Marshall also said at a hearing Friday that he may dissolve the Office of Desegregation Monitoring. The office has reviewed the racial balance of the Little Rock, North Little Rock and Pulaski County Special school districts for decades. Its work would then be done by a court-appointed expert.

Marshall previously ended extra state payments to the districts for desegregation efforts. Those payments had totaled more than $1 billion and will end in four years.

The Little Rock and North Little Rock districts have been declared essentially desegregated. Pulaski County still has issues pending.

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