Segregation at Marin School "intentional," Attorney General announces settlement

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says announced his office reached a settlement with a Marin County School District he accused of racial segregation.

Becerra said the discrimination at Bayside Martin Luther King JR Academy in Marin City by past school boards overseeing it, was intentional.

Bayside MLK in Marin City is a predominantly black and Latino elementary and middle school.

"Depriving a child of a fair chance to learn is wicked, it's warped. It's mostly bankrupt and corrupt," said Becerra.

Becerra says an investigation found that past school trustees from the Sausalito-Marin City school district made deliberate decisions that segregated the school and undercut the school's program.

But investigators say, at the same time, the same decision makers were guaranteeing stable funding for Willow Creek Academy, a charter K-8 school in Sausalito where more white students from the district attend.

"The cuts to funding for Bayside MLK resulted in a school that was not only segregated but also offering an inferior education program," said Becerra.

Becerra came to the school Friday to announce a settlement with the school district to end segregation.

The settlement calls for creating a plan to make Bayside MLK more diverse.

It also calls for scholarships, a counseling program for students who attended the school within the past six years, and an outside monitor.

"Today's settlement now enables the district to move forward with full transparency lifting the perceived veil of secrecy," said school district trustee president Ida Green. Parents and community leaders say they are pleased the issue has been brought to a head.

But some parents say the school district is being portrayed in an unfair light.

"That's the message everyone is sending out to the world. That's we somehow wanted segregation, and we want it this way. We don't want it to be this way," said Gina Risso, whose children attend Willow Creek.

"The announcement should be a call to action for all school districts in California to follow through on their responsibilities under the law," said Becerra.

The community says discussions are underway to solve the problem by merging the two schools into one.

But it's unclear how long it might take for that happen.