A tentative deal aimed at fixing a nearly 30-year-old desegregation lawsuit would allow the St. Louis school system to continue sending 13,000 inner-city students to suburban schools. "We finally got justice," said Minnie Liddell, whose suit in 1972 led to the current desegregation plan. "My son, Creighton, was 12 when I filed this lawsuit. He just turned 40 on Sunday. I'm glad I lived to see a settlement in this case." The current plan was put in place in 1983 after the state was held partially responsible for creating an unlawfully segregated school system in St. Louis. Under the tentative deal announced last week, the state would still pay the city about $40 million a year, school officials said. If city voters approve the plan in February, the deal would keep intact the court-supervised program that involves busing roughly 13,000 black inner-city students to predominately white St. Louis County schools.