updated 9/18/2006 11:29:30 PM ET 2006-09-19T03:29:30

A judge on Monday blocked the implementation of a law that would divide the Omaha school district into three racially identifiable districts.

The law, passed in April and set to take effect in 2008, would have split the Omaha Public Schools into one mostly black district, one largely Hispanic and one predominantly white. It also would have forced 11 school districts in two counties to share resources, including state funding, as part of a “learning community.”

Douglas County District Judge Michael Coffey ordered a temporary injunction blocking implementation of the law, which was aimed at solving a dispute over school boundaries after the district tried to take over some suburban schools. The injunction will remain in effect while the lawsuit is decided unless the court decides to lift it sooner.

Coffey criticized the district breakup because no other districts in the state would have been subject to such a plan.

“The court can find no reasonable basis for creating a classification of one in this instance,” Coffey said.

Coffey also said the learning community board’s voting structure would violate the Nebraska Constitution because a large district’s vote would count the same as a small district. The board was set to hold its first meeting Tuesday.

The injunction was in response to a lawsuit by the Chicano Awareness Center, a Latino outreach group, and five parents of children in Omaha public schools. The NAACP has also sued over the law, saying it violates the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 ruling outlawing school segregation.

The 45,000-student Omaha school system is 46 percent white, 31 percent black, 20 percent Hispanic, and 3 percent Asian or American Indian.

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