Hearne vs. Mumford Ruling Reversed

The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a ruling by a federal judge that the Mumford School District violated a federal desegregation order. The court of appeals found no evidence that Mumford upset Hearne's racial balance.

In August 2005 the protests were prevalent when a federal judge ruled in Hearne's favor.

The judge ordered all white transfer students back to Hearne, saying Mumford had violated a federal desegregation order. Mumford soon appealed and students were allowed to stay until the appeals process was over.

That day has come and you can bet the cheers will be just as loud.

"We were very happy, very excited it was a major victory for the students and for the parents and everyone associated with Mumford School," Mumford Superintendent Pete Bienski said.

Monday afternoon the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals filed their reversal, saying there is no legal or factual basis for the court's finding of a reduction in desegregation caused by the transfers.

The court goes on to say, the critical issue was whether TEA's funding to Mumford of white transfer students violated Order 5281, a number referring to a 1970 ruling that led to the desegregation of Texas schools. The court found no evidence of segregation and said the battle between the schools was fought for transfer dollars rather than justice.

Hearne superintendent David Deaver chose not to appear on camera, but released this statement regarding the issue.

"The court apparently ruled against Hearne on the narrow issue of whether Mumford's practice of enrolling Hearne students turned Hearne ISD into a one race school," Deaver said.

He added, in his opinion, that the court let stand TEA's sanctions against Mumford accepting new transfer students due to past reporting violations.

Some Hearne community members are pleased with the reversal.

"There's not education here a lot of people are wanting out and I'm glad Mumford won," one Hearne Resident said.

"My daughter went to Mumford and I think she got a better education there then she would have in Hearne," Hearne Resident Billy Hardcastle said.

Mumford ISD will be seeking repayment of hundreds of thousands of dollars for 70 white transfer students TEA did not pay for during the appeals process. Hearne ISD's attorney says the school is looking at their options to appeal, but nothing has been decided.

The court of appeals did challenge how TEA determines whether a school is in violation of segregation. They urged the agency to reconsider their process.


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