The St. Landry Parish School Board has agreed to pay $800,000 in attorney fees to an Opelousas lawyer who had requested a federal court award him $9.8 million for representing the plaintiffs in a federal desegregation lawsuit filed 47 years ago.

Board attorney Gerard Caswell told the board Thursday night that a mediation agreement in federal court between attorney Marion Overton White and the school district calls for payments to White to be spread over a five-year period, beginning with a $75,000 payment due by Dec. 31.

Other payments will be made in between 2012 and 2016.

Caswell said the district is saving money by White's consent to have to payments dispersed over time rather than in a single payment.