in Washington School compared to a 10% ratio in the entire district.
22. Other alternatives were available to the School Board in its program of school consolidation which would not require the closing of Washington School. However, these alternatives required extensive alterations to Washington School, considerations of safety and recreational facilities, and the bussing of students from other areas into Washington School as well as the bussing of some Washington School students elsewhere. The School Board considered these alternatives and rejected them for reasons consistent with its long term policy of administering a sound educational program for the benefit of all the schools of the district.
23. There is no evidence that the long term plans of the School District for school abandonment, closing and consolidation will serve or perpetuate a pattern of racial segregation. On the contrary, the closing of Washington School ends the most conspicuous example of de facto segregation in the School District.
24. There is no evidence that the time or distance of travel of any students required to be bussed is so great as to affect the health or the educational benefits of the students required to be bussed by the closing of Washington School.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. The Greater Johnstown School District is charged under the School Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with the discretion of opening and closing school buildings in fulfilling its duty to operate the school system, and in doing so must consider the factors of a sound educational program for all students, the safety of all students, the health and recreation program of all students, and the economic effects of its policies upon the taxpayers of the School District.
2. The Greater Johnstown School Board did not arbitrarily draw boundary lines or arbitrarily impose bus transportation on any students or citizens based on racial distinctions in closing the Washington School.
3. The closing of Washington School was the result of an effort by the Greater Johnstown School District to end the de facto segregation that existed in the Washington School alone of all the schools in its district.
4. The closing of Washington School was done from sound educational motives for the advancement of the educational program of the entire School District, and in accordance with a long range program of improvement of its educational facilities, and in accordance with proper economic considerations for the impact of the program on the taxpayers of the district.
5. The closing of Washington School did not place an unconstitutional burden upon any racial or minority group.
6. The closing of Washington School was not done in violation of any rights of plaintiffs under the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States or of the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1871 [ 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983 and 1988].
The gravamen of plaintiffs' complaint to the extent that any relief can be afforded by this court, is that the impact of the School Board's planning in the consolidation of elementary schools has fallen on the black students by reason of the fact that the new elementary pupil assignments require a total of 2,139 elementary students to be driven to school by bus, of which 348 are black and 1,791 are white. There is a total of 473 black elementary students in the whole system and thus 83% of these must ride the school bus, while 1,971 out of 4,318 white elementary students, or 41%, are bussed. Thus, in respect to total student population of each race the burden now falls twice as heavily on the total black student population as on the total white.
All of this is urged in support of a plea to reopen Washington School. While the closing of Washington School added 164 black students and 64 white students to the bus line, the closing of Tanneryville School added 126 white students to the bus line. Thus, while the closing of this school increased the percentage of black students riding the bus line, the total number of white students added to the bus line was greater than the total number of blacks, and the total of all white students riding the bus is far greater than the total of all blacks.
It thus appears to the court that it is not by any action of the School Board that the percentage of blacks riding the bus is higher, but rather that prevailing housing or residential patterns compel this result whenever a policy of consolidation of students into fewer and larger school facilities is followed. Housing or residential patterns are transitory. The effective desegregation of the Prospect Housing Project would eliminate this problem in short order.
The bussing of students is a recognized tool for achieving school desegregation. Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 402 U.S. 1, 91 S. Ct. 1267, 28 L. Ed. 2d 554 , and it serves that purpose in this case by ending the obvious segregation of the Washington School. While the percentage of black students to be bussed is increased by this solution, this is the only logical result of the elimination of the overwhelming pattern of segregation evident in the Washington School. While the percentage of black students to be bussed compared to total black students is sharply increased, the percentage of black students bussed to total students bussed remains a substantial minority.
It is evident that no matter how far the School Board might go to accede to plaintiffs' proposal, the end result would only be a temporary, patched-up old school which still would have no playground facilities, and would present an even greater traffic hazard because of the increased bussing required. It would still require additional black students to be bussed out, thus adding to the percentage of black students riding the bus. It appears to the court that the School Board's rejection of this plan was based on sound premises of educational and financial administration.
As was stated in United States v. Board of Education, Independent School District No. 1, Tulsa County, Oklahoma, 459 F.2d 720 [10th Cir. 1972]:
". . . Neither is it possible to devise a plan that will please everyone . . . . Their validity should not depend on the whim or preferences of members of the federal judiciary. They must be judged by constitutional standards. If they accomplish the desired goal of creating a unified school system, and do so in non-discriminatory manner, we are constrained to approve them." (p. 724)
The closing of Washington School was not done solely because it was a predominantly black school. It was also a deteriorated and inadequate school building. The closing ended the de facto pattern of discrimination existing there and also advanced integration in the entire district. It did not set up a new form of discrimination in its place, Lee v. Macon County Board of Education, 448 F.2d 746, 753 [5th Cir. 1971]; Mims v. Duval County School Board, 447 F.2d 1330 [5th Cir. 1971].
We can find no unconstitutional pattern of racial discrimination in the decisions of the Greater Johnstown Board of Education to close the Washington School. The plaintiffs' complaint will be dismissed.