Hearing could lead to end of desegregation aid

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A hearing is scheduled before a federal judge on a proposal that could end decades of court battles and $1 billion in state funding to three Little Rock-area schools.

U.S. District Judge Price Marshall is to start hearing arguments on whether to approve the agreement, which calls for payments to the districts to end in 2018 after the state pays another nearly $70 million a year.

Attorneys on both sides say they see no reason why the judge would disapprove the plan. The hearing could continue into Tuesday.

Marshall tentatively approved the plan November and cannot modify the agreement — only approve or disapprove it.

If the agreement falls apart, a trial on Arkansas' request to immediately end the payments is set for March.

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