UPDATE: Stephens District Request is Denied

Camden -- A federal judge has rejected a south Arkansas school district's request to block a planned merger into neighboring school districts.

Earlier this month the State Board of Education voted to annex the Stephens School District into the Camden-Fairview, Magnolia and Nevada County School Districts.

The Stephens School District fell below 350 students for average daily attendance during the 2013-'14 school year.

According to state law, falling below that enrollment threshold requires the district to find a district to annex with or have the State Board of Education do it.

The school district asked the judge to issue a temporary restraining order and injunction that would stop the annexation until a hearing can be heard.

The judge did rule a hearing will be heard on the issue before the consolidation takes effect in July and before staff contracts end on June 30.

A date for that hearing has not been set.

Superintendent of Stephens District, Patsy Hughey, released the following statement.

"As we move forward with the decision made April 10th, we will comply with the court's order and the Arkansas Department of Education directive to send non-renewal letters to the staff it pertains to."

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