To attract transfer students, the new magnets had to offer alluring programs, and school officials soon realized that voluntary desegregation could be used to obtain facilities and programs they had long coveted. When magnets became a popular technique for achieving school desegregation, school officials figured out how both to avoid problematical tax referendums and to tap directly into the public treasury. The ingenuity of school officials bordered on venality and initially took the Reagan administration by surprise. Eventually, however, William Bradford Reynolds insisted that courts should approve only those expenditures that were reasonably related to desegregation. One civil rights activist characterized it as "important" because it had "opened up so many opportunities for black children from the segregated city schools". By the 1980s the physical condition of many of Kansas City's public schools had deteriorated to the point where repairs would have been required even in the absence of desegregation.