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QUALITY ED. FOR ALL CHILDREN., v. SCH. BD.

August 16, 1973

QUALITY EDUCATION FOR ALL CHILDREN, INC., ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
SCHOOL BOARD OF SCHOOL DISTRICT #205 OF WINNEBAGO COUNTY, ILLINOIS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bauer, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This cause comes on the plaintiffs' petition for a temporary injunction restraining the School Board of School District # 205 of Winnebago County, Illinois ("School Board") from carrying forward on a plan known as the "Voluntary Desegregation Program" approved by the School Board at its meeting on April 30, 1973.

The instant suit is a class action, brought by the plaintiffs (qua individual taxpayers and voluntary associations) on behalf of other residents and taxpayers similarly situated in School District # 205 of Winnebago County, State of Illinois ("School District"), pursuant to Rule 23(a) and 23(b)(2), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The class represented by the named plaintiffs allegedly consists of all residents of the School District including both black and white citizens.*fn1

The named plaintiffs, in their complaint, have set forth the following eight separate causes of action and factual allegations to support them:

  1.  The School District is Not in Compliance With
      the State's Rules on Equal Educational
      Opportunities.
  2.  School Board Practices and Election Procedure
      Violate State Laws.
      The manner of election of individuals to the
      School Board is racially discriminatory, for
      the election of School Board members,
      pursuant to Sec. 9-7 of Chapter 122 of the
      Illinois Revised Statutes of 1971, allowing
      candidates to be chosen from the entire
      district assures an all-white school board or
      a segregation-oriented school board to be
      elected. In the fact of existing racial and
      economic residential segregation in the
      Rockford School District, every school board
      election assures the election of a majority
      of board members unresponsive to the needs of
      minority students and the overriding urgency
      to achieve quality integrated education.
  3.  Present Attendance Boundaries Create Racial
      Imbalance.
      The present attendance boundaries for
      assigning students to the five senior high
      schools, the six junior high schools, and the
      60 elementary schools of the Rockford School
      District produce a racial imbalance or
      segregation in the student bodies throughout
      the system. The boundaries have caused
      students who are black to go to schools with
      a larger percentage of black students than
      the overall citywide average of 15 percent,
      although another school nearer to such
      students would have offered a better
      proportional racial balance. The present
      attendance boundaries produce a level of
      racial segregation resulting in unequal
      educational opportunities for

      many children, black and white. The present
      attendance boundaries cause an increase in
      the racial identifiability of various
      schools.
  4.  Present Attendance Boundaries Create
      Imbalance of Under Achievers.
      The present system of attendance boundaries
      has caused students who are at low
      achievement levels to be attending schools
      where there are larger numbers of low
      achiever students than the citywide average,
      although a school with a low percentage of
      low achievement level students is nearer at
      hand. The present attendance boundaries
      produce a racial and achievement level
      segregation, resulting in unequal educational
      opportunities for many children, black and
      white. The present attendance boundaries
      cause an increase in the racial
      identifiability of various schools and an
      increase in low achieving or economic
      identifiability of various schools.
5.  Bussing of Students In Discriminatory Manner.
      The bussing of students within the Rockford
      School District is performed in a racially
      discriminatory manner. Black children are
      bussed out of predominantly black areas but
      white students are not bussed in the same
      manner. Bussing is actually done within the
      Rockford School District to continue
      segregation rather than to produce
      integration. Further, children are bussed in
      order to produce clusters of students of the
      same achievement level rather than to
      integrate students of all achievement levels.
      The Rockford School Board has sought to use
      its neighborhood school policy and its policy
      against forced cross-the-river bussing to
      explain its failure to integrate students,
      teachers and staff members. The Rockford
      School Board currently has a plan of bussing
      in which primarily black students are bussed,
      and this produces more racial identifiability
      and racial segregation.
6.  Racial Discrimination in Faculty Assignments.
      There is racial imbalance or segregation in
      the faculty assignments in the senior high
      schools, junior high schools, and elementary
      schools of the Rockford School District on a
      racially segregated basis, namely, a greater
      proportion of black faculty members are in
      those schools that have a greater proportion
      of black students.
  7.  Racial Discrimination in the Construction
      Program.
      There is racial imbalance or segregation in
      the construction program of the senior high
      schools, the junior high schools and the
      elementary schools of the Rockford School
      District. Schools housing a greater
      proportion of black students than the
      citywide average are those schools which
      should have been removed because of their
      age, but were remodeled, thus perpetuating
      the imbalance. New schools were built in the
      center of all-white areas and not on the
      borders of white-black areas, where more
      racial balance might have been achieved.
      Portable schoolrooms were purchased and/or
      transferred to schools with a view toward
      maintaining racial imbalance or imbalance of
      low-achievers rather than coupled with
      alteration of attendance boundaries to permit
      a more balanced student body, both racially
      and in terms of achievement levels. A $17
      million dollar bond issue in 1967 was
      promoted with representations to the public
      that the monies would be used to build better
      schools on both sides of the river running
      through Rockford, but the facts have shown
      that most of the monies were used in white
      areas for high achieving students.
  8.  Curriculum Programs are Racially
      Discriminating.
      There is a racial imbalance or segregation in
      educational opportunities produced by the
      curriculum programs in the elementary
      schools, junior high schools and senior high
      schools of the Rockford School District. In
      Guilford High School nothing has been offered
      by way of a black studies course. In Wilson,
      Lincoln and Roosevelt Junior High Schools
      there is no separate program of black studies
      offered at the schools, and in the other
      schools where black studies are offered, all
      students are not required to take such
      studies. At Auburn High School, where a
      predominant number of the students are black,
      students in this school (in contrast to the
      other high schools of the city) are denied
      the right to take SAT College Entrance tests.
      More than twice as much money is spent on
      counseling facilities for the students in
      high schools which have a practically
      all-white population than in other high
      schools where there is a large percentage of
      black students. In Wert High School a black
      studies course was offered for the first time
      last year, but there are no plans to increase
      the number of courses this coming year.

The plaintiffs have asked this Court to restrain the defendants from proceeding with their Voluntary Desegregation Plan; to require the defendant School Board to re-examine its School Board election procedure and practices in light of Illinois Constitutional requirements; to enjoin the defendants, their agents, officers, employees, successors and all persons in active consort or participation with them from discriminating on the basis of race, color or achievement level regarding attendance boundaries, bussing, faculty assignment, school construction programs or curriculum in the operation of the Rockford Public School System.

It is important for the proper disposition of the instant controversy to comprehend the defendant's Voluntary Desegregation Plan, which provides:*fn3

  1.  The entire staff, certificated and
      non-certificated, should be integrated as
      rapidly as possible. The percentage of
      minority employees should be 15% of the
      total. This would include central
      administration personnel, administrators,
      teachers, clerks, secretaries, building
      engineers, custodians, trademen, food service
      workers, and all classifications of
      para-professional personnel. The time
      schedule for the completion of the
      integration of the staff will be three to
      five years and is to begin immediately.
  2.  Cluster elementary schools on a voluntary
      individual basis, under the direction of the
      administration.
  3.  Pair elementary schools on a voluntary
      individual basis under the direction of the
      administration.
  4.  Close one elementary school (Muldoon) and
      transfer children to four other elementary
      schools (Bloom, Guilford Center, Johnson,
      Spring Creek) with an option to remain in the
      closest neighborhood school.
  5.  Establishment of four magnet schools: Martin
      Luther King, Barbour, Welsh and an
  ...

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