Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

HUSBANDS v. PENNSYLVANIA

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


March 31, 1975

HARRY N. HUSBANDS, et al.
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, et al.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: NEWCOMER

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

 Newcomer, J.

 This is an action for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief, brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983 by the parents of public school children within Delaware County, Pennsylvania, challenging the reorganization of certain school districts in that county in 1968. The plaintiffs charged that as a result of such reorganization by the above-named defendants, they have been forced to attend schools within racially and economically segregated districts and accordingly, have been deprived of rights, privileges and immunities secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States. The plaintiffs pray for an injunction, altering and revising or ordering defendants to alter and revise the Delaware County School Reorganization Plan, declaratory relief as to the unconstitutionality of said plan in its present configuration, an injunction restraining the levy of taxes by the defendants without equalization of assessment ratios and declaratory relief as to the unconstitutionality of public school financing which places substantial dependence upon local property taxes.

 All defendants filed answers, generally denying the allegations contained in plaintiffs' causes of action and raising new matter.

 The defendants also moved this Court to abstain or dismiss the complaint because: (1) the plaintiffs' first cause of action failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted; (2) the plaintiffs lacked standing to raise the racial issues contained in the first cause of action; (3) there is no federal right to relief from de facto segregation; (4) the plaintiffs failed to exhaust administrative remedies available under state law and thus should not have access to the federal courts; (5) the plaintiffs failed to join necessary parties-defendant; (6) this Court is without proper jurisdiction to determine the merits of plaintiffs' fourth cause of action; (7) the action was barred by res judicata; (8) in the alternative, this Court should abstain; (9) the plaintiffs' complaint failed to allege any violation of any right, privilege or immunity, protected or guaranteed by the Constitution or laws of the United States; (10) the plaintiffs' complaint failed to allege a constitutionally prohibited state enforced system of racial segregation; (11) the plaintiffs' allegations of economic discrimination did not establish the violation of any right, privilege, or immunity protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and (12) plaintiffs' complaint was barred by 28 U.S.C.A. § 1341.

 By opinion and order dated May 22, 1973, this Court held that plaintiffs' complaint did state a claim upon which relief could be granted; that the plaintiffs did have the standing to raise the racial issues contained in the first cause of action; that the second cause of action that alleged that the Delaware County Plan of School Reorganization created severe economic imbalance, thus denying plaintiffs' equal educational opportunities, was actionable under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983; that the fourth cause of action that alleged that the method of school financing employed by defendants with its substantial dependence on local property taxes creating discrimination was actionable under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983; but that this particular issue should be referred to a three judge federal court; that this court did have jurisdiction over the subject matter of the third cause of action; that all parties necessary had been joined as defendants; and that this was not the proper time to raise the issue of res judicata.

 On January 17, 1973, this court entered an order under which the time in which the plaintiffs were required under Local Rule 45 to file a Motion for Class Action Determination was extended for ninety (90) days from the date of this Court's determination on defendants' motions to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint. On February 23, 1973, the plaintiffs filed a motion for determination of class pursuant to said local rule. By memorandum and order dated May 22, 1973, this Court determined that this suit was properly maintainable as a class action under Rule 23(b) (2).

 Trial of the plaintiffs' causes of action was held as scheduled on Monday, November 19, 1973, and continued through Tuesday, November 20, 1973. Before and during this trial all parties submitted certain stipulations and exhibits, all of which have been made part of the record. All parties had an opportunity to offer testimony in their behalf. The trial was concluded with the request by this Court for all parties to submit requests for findings of fact and conclusions of law. Additionally, this Court requested that all parties submit memoranda regarding the issue of res judicata. Such memoranda were tendered by all parties. The defendants also submitted requests for findings of fact and conclusions of law on the issue of res judicata as distinguished from the requests for findings and conclusions on the merits of plaintiffs' causes of action.

 On April 29, 1974, this Court and all parties agreed that this Court would await the Supreme Court's decision in Milliken v. Bradley before this Court rendered its decision in this case.

 On July 25, 1974, the Supreme Court rendered its decision in Milliken, and the parties in the instant case submitted briefs to this Court on the impact of Milliken by September 12, 1974.

 On December 11, 1974, this Court issued sua sponte an order giving plaintiffs thirty (30) days to submit a memorandum outlining any additional evidence they desired to present concerning the relative economic and administrative feasibility of alternative reorganization plans to that chosen by Delaware County in 1968, but by letter of January 7, 1975, counsel for plaintiffs advised this court that plaintiffs desired to present no additional evidence and would stand on the record.

  On the basis of the record before us, we have reached the findings of fact and conclusions of law set forth below.

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 Parties.

 1. Plaintiffs are: Harry N. Husbands and Sharon E. Husbands, his wife, individually and as parents of their minor child, Tomi R. Husbands; Joan Green, individually and as mother of her minor children, Diana Green and Edgar Green; Vincent R. Bartholf and June C. Bartholf, his wife, individually and as parents of their minor children, Debbie Bartholf, Brenda Bartholf and Dawn Bartholf; Joseph G. Derrickson and Bertha I. Derrickson, his wife, individually and as parents of their minor children Danita Derrickson and Joseph Derrickson; Nelson B. Sabean and Marjorie Sabean, his wife, individually and as parents of their minor children, Mark Sabean and Michele Sabean; Charles Rovane and Irene Rovane, his wife, individually and as parents of their minor children Joan Rovane and Victoria Rovane; Filmore Ott and Carol Ott, his wife, individually and as parents of their minor children, Philip Ott, Joanne Ott, John Ott, Carole Ott, Michael Ott and Patricia Ott; Joseph J. Nolan and Mary E. Nolan, his wife, individually and as parents of their minor children Joseph J. Nolan, Matthew Nolan, Steven Nolan and Andrew Nolan; John E. Fitzgerald and Joanne M. Fitzgerald, his wife, individually and as parents of their minor child, Debra Fitzgerald; David W. Clifton and Florence Clifton, individually and as parents of their minor children, Robert Clifton, James Clifton and Raymond Clifton; Francis Grant and Helen Grant, his wife, individually and as parents of their minor children, Daniel Grant, Paul Grant, Eric Grant, Maureen Grant, Mary Beth Grant and Francis Grant; Donald Hartnett and Virginia Hartnett, his wife, individually and as parents of their minor children, Donald Hartnett and Craig Hartnett; Wilmer Bowers and Jean Bowers, his wife, individually and as parents of their minor child, Donna Bowers; Richard Larkin and Jeanette Larkin, his wife, individually and as parents of their minor children, Richard Larkin, Jr., Michael Larkin and Mary Patricia Larkin.

 2. Plaintiffs are duly qualified electors, citizens, taxpayers and parents of school age children who reside within either Administrative Unit 4, 5, or 12, as these units are presently constituted within Delaware County, Pennsylvania. With the exception of the child of named Plaintiffs Harry N. Husbands and Sharon E. Husbands, one child of Vincent R. Bartholf and June C. Bartholf, and the two children of John E. Fitzgerald and Joan M. Fitzgerald, the school age children of the named plaintiffs attend the public schools within the administrative unit in which they reside. The Husbands' child, Tomi, although of the Methodist religion like his parents, attends St. Joseph's Roman Catholic School. The Bartholfs' child, Brenda, who would attend Chester High School if she were enrolled in the Chester-Upland School District, attends Chichester School District High School, where she was enrolled in September, 1972, the first school term after the merger of the City of Chester and Borough of Upland School Districts on July 1, 1972. The two school age Fitzgerald children, who reside in Darby Township, within Administrative Unit 5, attend St. Clement's Roman Catholic School.

 3. This case involves questions of law and fact common to all the members of the plaintiff class. Named plaintiffs' claims are typical of the claims of the class and named plaintiffs will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.

 4. The persons constituting the class of which plaintiffs are a part is in excess of 50,000, so numerous as to make it impracticable to join all as parties.

 5. The named plaintiffs have not given notice of this action to any members of the class other than the named plaintiffs, and this Court did not direct notice to be given by the named plaintiffs to the members of the Class in this proceeding.

 6. The named plaintiffs and all of their children are of the Caucasion race.

 7. Plaintiffs did not at any time prior to instituting this suit consult with any minority persons or minority organizations concerning the basis for the legal action herein.

 8. The named plaintiffs have annual earnings from a low of $9,464.00 to a high of $18,000.00. (Stipulation)

 9. Defendants are: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; John C. Pittenger, Secretary of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; W. Deming Lewis, Chairman of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education; James M. Lambert, President of the Delaware County Intermediate Unit Board of School Directors; Delaware County Intermediate Unit Board of School Directors; Edward Grosse, President of Interim Operating Committee for Administrative Unit No. 4; Franklin A. Yeager, President of Interim Operating Committee for Administrative Unit No. 5; Interim Operating Committee for Administrative Unit No. 5; Clarence Roberts, President of Interim Operating Committee for Administrative Unit No. 12; and Interim Operating Committee for Administrative Unit No. 12.

 10. Defendant Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has the duty under Article III, Section 14 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, P.S., to maintain and support a thorough and efficient public school system.

 11. Defendant Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has the ultimate power, authority and responsibility to create school districts and to establish and alter boundaries of the areas served by said school districts.

 12. Defendant, John C. Pittenger, is the duly appointed Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

 13. Defendant Pennsylvania State Board of Education ("State Board") is a state administrative board charged with the general supervision and control of the educational interests of the Commonwealth. Defendant W. Deming Lewis was the Chairman of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education when this action was filed.

 14. Defendant Delaware County Intermediate Unit Board of School Directors, pursuant to Pennsylvania Public School Code, as amended, (24 P.S. Section 9-951, et seq.) on July 1, 1971, became the successor to the Delaware County Board of School Directors. Said defendant is charged with providing the essential services formerly provided by the County Board and with the administration of the program of services of Intermediate Unit 25, comprising all school districts in the County of Delaware. Defendant James M. Lambert was President of the Delaware County Intermediate Unit Board of School Directors when this action was filed.

 15. Defendants, Interim Operating Committee of Administrative Units No. 4, No. 5, and No. 12 were the duly appointed committees responsible for the organization of said units and became the Boards of School Directors for said reorganized school districts on July 1, 1972.

 16. Defendants, Edward Grosse, Franklin A. Yeager, and Clarence Roberts at the time this action was filed were the duly elected Presidents of the respective defendant Boards of School Directors of School Districts No. 4, No. 5, and No. 12.

 School Reorganization Legislation and Standards.

 17. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not maintain a dual racial system of education by legislative or constitutional requirement.

 18. During the 1960's the Pennsylvania Legislature on three occasions enacted legislation to reorganize school districts in Pennsylvania's public school system.

 (a) the first Act -- Act of September 12, 1961, P.L. 1283, No. 561, 24 P.S. § 2 - 281 et seq. (Act 561) -- directed each county board of school directors to prepare on or before January 1, 1963 a plan of organization of administrative units for the County for review by the State Council of Education. 24 P.S. §§ 2-282, 2-283.

 (b) Act 561 was superseded by the Act of August 8, 1963, P.L. 564, No. 299, 24 P.S. § 2 - 290 et seq. (Act 299). Act 299 directed each county board of school directors to prepare on or before July 1, 1964 a plan of organization of administrative units for the county and directed the State Council of Basic Education to review organization plans prepared by the county boards and to approve such plans as it deemed wise in the best interest of the educational system of the Commonwealth, provided that these plans met certain requirements specified in Act 299. 24 P.S. §§ 2-290, 2-293. In preparing reorganization plans pursuant to Act 299, the county boards were not bound by any proposals contained in reorganization plans prepared pursuant to Act 561. 24 P.S. § 2 - 292. In dealing with school districts which had previously entered into a written agreement for the establishment of a joint school or department, however, the county boards were prohibited from proposing any administrative units which in whole or in part comprised less than all of the school districts joined by such agreement. 24 P.S. § 2-292.

 (c) Act 299 was superseded by the Act of July 8, 1968, P.L. 299, No. 150, 24 P.S. § 2400 et seq. (Act 150), (Supp. 1974). Act 150 directed each county board of education to prepare within 90 days a plan of organization of administrative units comprised of school districts which were not in an administrative unit established as a school district under Act 299. 24 P.S. § 2400.2. Act 150 provided, however, that the plan of administrative units could include the placement of one or more school districts in an administrative unit established as a school district under Act 299 if the school district established under that act agreed thereto. 24 P.S. § 2400.2(b).

 19. Acts 299 and 150 both provided for the plan of organization of administrative units to conform to standards for approval of administrative units adopted by the State Board and directed the State Board to prepare such standards, taking into account the following factors: topography, pupil population, community characteristics, transportation of pupils, use of existing buildings, existing administrative units, potential population changes and the capability of providing a comprehensive plan of education. 24 P.S. §§ 2400.1 and 2400.2; 24 P.S. § 2-291.

 20. Pursuant to the above provisions of Act 150, the State Board adopted Standards for Approval of Administrative Units. These standards, inter alia, provided that:

 

(a) An administrative unit shall be planned to offer a full program of instruction, kindergarten or grade one through twelve, and provide administrative leadership, supervision and instruction at a reasonable cost consistent with the local taxable wealth and State financial support available per pupil.

 

(b) An administrative unit shall make available an educational program and educational opportunities to meet the varying needs, aptitudes, abilities, and interests of individuals residing in the administrative unit.

 

(c) Consideration should be given to whether a geographic area has developed the characteristics of a community. Community, as used here, includes one or more municipalities and the surrounding territory from where people come for business, social, recreational, fraternal or similar reasons. Neither race or religion shall be a factor in determining administrative unit boundaries and differences in the social and economic level of the population shall not be a basis to determine these boundaries.

 

(d) Pupil population changes may be considered in the planning of administrative units where the changes are supported by reliable studies of area development showing past pupil population trends and future projections based on recognized statistical methods.

 

(e) Consideration shall be given to the capability of providing a comprehensive program of education which shall mean the ability to educate and train each child within his capacity to the extent demanded by the immediate requirements of his growth and his relationship to the strengthening of this Commonwealth and nation, and shall include, but not be limited to, wealth per pupil, qualifications of professional staff, enrollment and diversification of curriculum. (Exhibit P-2)

 21. A letter from the Superintendent of the Department of Public Instruction advised the county boards, including the Delaware County Board, that the intent of the language of the last sentence of the above paragraph (c) was to prevent de jure segregation through the fixing of school district boundaries and that the language was not to be construed to permit de facto segregation on the basis of race, religion or national origin. (Exhibit P-43, N.T. 82, 83)

 School Districts Established in Delaware County by the State and County Boards under Acts 299 and 150.

 22. Under Act 299, the following Administrative Units within Delaware County were reorganized on August 11, 1965:

 

Administrative Unit 1 -- Radnor Township

 

Administrative Unit 2 -- Haverford Township

 

Administrative Unit 7 -- Ridley Park Borough, Ridley Park Township, and Eddystone Borough

 

Administrative Unit 9 -- Marple -- Newtown

 

Administrative Unit 10 -- Media Borough and Rose Tree Union

 

Administrative Unit 13 -- Chichester Jointure (Lower Chichester and Upper Chichester), Marcus Hook Borough, Trainer Borough. (Ex. P-9, N.T. 299).

 23. The above plan of August 11, 1965, was a revision of a plan adopted by the Delaware County Board of School Directors on May 6, 1964. (Ex. P-9). The sole difference between the plans of May 6, 1964, and August 11, 1965, lay in the transfer of the Darby-Colwyn Jointive from Administrative Unit 5 to Administrative Unit 4. This amendment of the County Board's Plan was made by the State Council of Basic Education, acting upon the directive of the State Board of Education. (Ex. P-9, N.T. 304). Neither Administrative Units 4 nor 5, however, were reorganized under Act 299. (Ex. P-9, N.T. 299).

 24. Pursuant to the mandate of Act No. 150 of 1968 (24 P.S. § 2400.1 et seq.) the Delaware County Board of School Directors on October 2, 1968, adopted the following plan for the reorganization of school districts that had not been reorganized under Act 299:

 

Unit 3: School Districts of the Boroughs of Clifton Heights and Millbourne and of the Township of Upper Darby.

 

Unit 4: School Districts of the Boroughs of Darby and Colwyn (Darby-Colwyn Jointure), the Boroughs of Lansdowne, Aldan, and East Lansdowne (Lansdowne-Aldan Jointure) and of the Borough of Yeadon.

 

Unit 5: School Districts of the Boroughs of Collingdale, Folcroft and Sharon Hill and of the Township of Darby.

 

Unit 6: School Districts of the Boroughs of Glenolden, Norwood and Prospect Park (Interboro Jointure) and of the Township of Tinicum.

 

Unit 8: School Districts of the Borough of Morton and of the Township of Springfield.

 

Unit 11: School District of the Township of Nether Providence and the Swarthmore-Rutledge Union School District.

 

Unit 12: School Districts of the City of Chester, of the Township of Chester and of the Borough of Upland.

 

Unit 14: Penn-Delco Union School District.

 

Unit 15: School Districts of the Borough of Chester Heights and of the Township of Bethel and Concord (Garnet Valley Jointure). (Stipulation 1, Ex. P-10)

 25. The reorganization of Units 4, 5, and 12 took place on July 1, 1972. It is these reorganizations which are here at issue.

 Demographic Characteristics of Delaware County.

 26. Under 1970 census figures, the nonwhite population of Delaware County comprises 7.6% of the total population. (Ex. P-23) This percentage has remained at or around 7% since 1940 (Ex. P-22).

 27. As of 1968, the public school population of Delaware County was 12.9% Black. (Ex. P-37).

 28. At the time of reorganization pursuant to Act 150 in 1968, there were within Delaware County five (5) school districts in which the percentage of black students within the district exceeded the 12.9% figure for the entire county. These were: Darby-Colwyn, 22.1%; Yeadon Borough, 34.2%; Darby Township, 68.2%; Chester City, 67.9%; and Chester Township 62.1%. (Ex. P-37).

 29. As noted above, each of these districts was ultimately placed within one of the three administrative units challenged in this case. Chester City and Chester Township were joined with Upland Borough to form Administrative Unit 12; Darby-Colwyn and Yeadon were joined with Lansdowne-Aldan to form Administrative Unit 4; and Darby Township was joined with Collingdale, Folcroft, and Sharon Hill to form Administrative Unit 5. (Ex. P-10, Stipulation 1)

 Administrative Unit 12.

 30. As noted above, Administrative Unit 12 comprises the former school districts of Chester City, Chester Township, and Upland Borough.

 31. In 1968, Administrative Unit 12 contained 13.6% of the total student population of Delaware County. (Ex.P-37).

 32. At the time the 1968 reorganization plan was adopted, the student population of Chester City was 11,725, of which 7,959, or 67.9%, were black. (Ex. P-37).

 33. Chester City's total student population of 11,725 comprised 88.9% of Administrative Unit 12's total student population of 13,184 in 1968. (Ex. P-37).

 34. At the time of the 1968 reorganization plan, the black student population of Chester City constituted approximately 63.9% of the total black student population of Delaware County. (Ex. P-37).

 35. The population of Chester City has over the years become increasingly black. Blacks comprised 20.9% of the city's total population in 1950, 33.3% in 1960, and 45.2% in 1970. (Ex. P-23).

 36. These population shifts have had their effects on the City of Chester school population. Dr. John J. Vaul, Superintendent of the Chester-Upland School District, testified in the Delaware County case of Cleary v. Dalton, No. 13358 of 1971, the record of which is, by stipulation, part of the record in these proceedings, that years ago the racial composition of the City of Chester school system was about twenty percent black and eighty percent white, whereas in 1973 it was about seventy-six percent black and twenty-four percent white. (Ex. P-36)

  37. At the time of the 1968 reorganization plan, the student population of Chester Township was 850, of which 528, or 62.1% were black. (Ex. P-37).

 38. In contrast with Chester City, Chester Township has become increasingly white in its overall population, both by virtue of a decrease in the black population and an increase in the white. From 1960 to 1970, the white population of Chester Township increased from 1,183 to 3,826, while the non-white population decreased during the same time period from 2,419 to 1,882. (N.T. 245, 246). In terms of percentages, the population of Chester Township was 69.5% black in 1950, 67.1% black in 1960, and 32.7% black in 1970 (Ex. P-23).

 39. At the same time, the population of Chester Township is estimated to increase steadily. While the Township's population was 3,062 in 1960, it is estimated to be 9,200 by 1980. (N.T. 246). If the above racial and population trends continue, Chester Township would thus appear likely to continue to become increasingly white.

 40. These population trends of Chester Township overall have been reflected as well in the township's student population, which was 62.11% black in 1968, but 56.5% black in 1971. (N.T. 292).

 41. In 1968, Chester Township's 850 students constituted 6.4% of the total student population of the proposed Administrative Unit 12. (Ex. P-37). In 1971, the comparable figure was 6.6% (Ex. P-19).

 42. At the time of the 1968 reorganization plan, the total student population of Upland Borough was 609, of which 3, or.49% were black. (Ex. P-12, P-19).

 43. Upland is virtually an all white community, with only 66 blacks in 1960, and only 27 in 1970. (Ex. P-1).

 44. The trend in Upland's overall population towards becoming virtually all-white has reflected itself in Upland's student population, which went from.49% black in 1968 to.40% black in 1970, or a total of 3 black students of 630 total students. (Ex. P-12, P-19).

 45. In 1968, Upland's 609 students constituted 4.6% of the total student population of 13,184 in the proposed Administrative Unit 12. (Ex. P-37). In 1971, the comparable figure was 5.2%. (Ex. P-19).

 46. Both the Delaware County School Board and the State Board of Education had available the data on racial concentration in Administrative Unit 12 and Delaware County prior to and during the formulation of the 1968 reorganization plan. (N.T. 63, 308).

 47. The Delaware County School Board knew that it was joining areas of substantial black populations in joining Chester City and Chester Township. (N.T. 306).

 48. The administrative unit formed in 1968 by the combination of Chester City, Chester Township, and Upland Borough contained 13,184 students, of which 8,490, or 64.4% were black. As of 1972, this figure had increased to 71%. (Ex. P-37).

 49. In 1968, Administrative Unit 12 contained 68.2% of the total black student population in Delaware County; Unit 5, with the next highest black concentration, had 9.6% of the total county black population.

 50. As of 1972-73, Administrative Unit 12 contained approximately 66.9% of the total black student population of Delaware County. (Ex. P-37)

  51. Administrative Unit 12 had the highest percentage of black students within its total student population of any administrative unit in the Commonwealth, approximately 9% higher than the next ranking unit. (Ex. P-34, N.T. 75).

  52. Prior to reorganization, the City of Chester School District had been cited by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission concerning de facto segregation in the City's schools, and had been ordered by the Commission and the Department of Education to submit a desegregation plan. (N.T. 122). The Delaware County School Board was aware of such order at the time of reorganization. (N.T. 27). The city submitted several plans, several parts of which the Human Relations Commission approved. (N.T. 122). The remaining unapproved part concerned desegregation of the city's elementary schools, concerning which the Department of Education and the newly created Chester-Upland District (Administrative Unit 12) were conducting meetings at the time of the trial of this case. (N.T. 121-123).

  53. The Chester City School District had also been cited by the Human Relations Commission with respect to integration of its schools' staffs, but this matter had subsequently been adjusted by the time of the trial of this case. (N.T. 127, 128).

  54. Chester Township had likewise prior to the 1968 reorganization been cited by the Human Relations Commission and asked to submit a desegregation plan. (N.T. 123). The Delaware County School Board was aware of this order against the Township. (N.T. 27). The Township subsequently submitted a plan which the Human Relations Commission approved. (N.T. 123).

  55. Prior to reorganization, the Delaware County Board of School Directors had been cited concerning pupil assignment and racial makeup, but the Human Relations Commission issued no desegregation order when it learned that the pupils in question were all special education students. (N.T. 124).

  56. The record indicates neither the Human Relations Commission nor any of its subdivisions made any written communication to the Delaware County School Board concerning the Commission's position to the proposed merger of the Chester City and Chester Township school districts. (N.T. 119).

  57. The record similarly indicates no written communication from the Human Relations Commission or any of its subdivisions to the State Board of Education concerning the propriety of sustaining or not sustaining Administrative Units 4, 5, and 12 in the appeals before the State Board. (N.T. 150).

  58. At the time of reorganization, Chester City desired not to be merged with any other district, and especially not with the adjacent Nether Providence district. (N.T. 308).

  59. Chester City opposed its consolidation with Chester Township, on grounds that both districts already had substantial black concentrations, and on financial grounds as well. (N.T. 27, 30).

  60. Chester ultimately appealed the proposed Unit 12 to the State Board of Education and then to the courts. (N.T. 308).

  61. The State Department of Education requires every school district to submit a long range development program to show the plans of the school district for school construction or curriculum change. The State Board of Education has issued a School Administrator's Handbook containing guidelines for the preparation of such long range developmental plans.

  62. On January 11, 1968, prior to the adoption of the Delaware County reorganization plan, the State Board amended the Handbook to provide that school districts had an obligation of affirmative action to eliminate "de facto" segregation, defined as

  

". . . the racial imbalance in schools which occurs when the number of Negroes in a compact Negro area becomes so great that drawing school zone boundaries on a geographical basis caused the great majority of Negro children to attend schools which are overwhelmingly Negro in population." (P-60).

  63. The guidelines, however, were addressed to individual school districts or administrative units regarding action to be taken after the districts or units had been reorganized under Act 150 by their county school boards. These guidelines were not addressed to the county school boards themselves. (N.T. 121).

  64. Act 150 provided that except for non-contiguous districts which had previously been joined, only those districts that were contiguous could be merged. PA. STAT. ANN. tit. 24, § 2400.2 (Supp. 1974). Similarly, the Standards for Approval of Administrative Units, adopted and issued to the county school boards by the State Board of Education, provided:

  

"An administrative unit shall be planned as a contiguous geographic area. Exceptions to contiguity may be made only in situations where the administrative unit in whole or in part includes a noncontiguous, geographic area which had previously been approved by the State Board of Education as an administrative unit or had operated as an administrative unit, a school district or a joint system during the 1967-68 school year."

  65. The record indicates that none of the component districts of Administrative Unit 12 had ever been part of an administrative unit, school district, or joint school system with any non-contiguous district prior to reorganization in 1968, although students from Upland had attended high school in Collingdale (now part of Administrative Unit 5). (N.T. 336).

  66. Under the 1968 Delaware County Reorganization Plan, the Chester-Upland Administrative Unit (Adm. Unit 12) was bounded on the east by the Ridley Unit (Adm. Unit 7), which in 1968 had a student population 2.9% black; on the north by the Wallingford - Swarthmore Unit (Adm. Unit 11), which had a 5.5% black student population; to the northwest by the Penn Delco Unit (Adm. Unit 14), with a 0% black student population; and to the southwest by the Chichester Unit (Adm. Unit 13), with a black student population of 8.1% (Ex. P-10, P-37).

  67. Act 150 also provided, however, that no district placed in an administrative unit under Act 299, the predecessor of Act 150, could be placed in an administrative unit under Act 150 unless the district consented. PA. STAT. ANN. tit. 24, § 2400.2 (Supp. 1974).

  68. Since the Ridley and Chichester Administrative Units (Adm. Units 7 and 13) had been reorganized under Act 299 (N.T. 299, 300), neither of these units could thus have been merged without its consent with either Administrative Unit 12 as a whole or to any of its component districts.

  69. The record does not establish whether either the Ridley or Chichester Unit was asked whether it would consent to merger with Administrative Unit 12 or any of its component districts. The record suggests, however, that no such request of either the Ridley or Chichester Unit was ever made. (N.T. 144).

  70. Prior to the adoption of its reorganization plan, the Delaware County Board of School Directors had compiled a study showing the racial composition of alternative administrative units to those incorporated in the reorganization plan ultimately adopted. This study included one alternative administrative unit involving component districts of Administrative Unit 12; this suggested unit in the study grouped Chester Township and Upland with Penn-Delco (currently Administrative Unit 14) to form one administrative unit. (Ex. P-14)

  71. Plaintiffs introduced no evidence that the county and state boards had feasible alternative plans which would have lessened the black student concentration in Unit 12.

  At the trial of this case in November, 1973, plaintiffs presented two witnesses who dealt with the issue of alternative reorganization plans to that adopted in Delaware County in 1968. Dr. John W. Strickler, Associate Professor of Education at the University of Miami and Associate Director of the Florida School Desegregation Consulting Center, suggested several administrative units that might possibly have been considered as alternatives to Unit 12, and to Units 4 and 5, the two other units challenged in this case.

  First, he said that Units 4, 5, and 6 might have been combined, resulting in a total student population of 17,167 and a black student population of 2,228, or a black student percentage of 12.97%. (N.T. 235)

  Another alternative, he said, might have been to combine Units 3 and 4, for a total student population of 17,867 and a black student population of 1,029, or a black student percentage of 5.75%. (N.T. 235)

  As to alternatives involving Unit 12 or its component districts, Dr. Strickler said that Unit 12 might have been combined with Unit 11, for a total student population of 8,217, or a black student percentage of 48.4%. (N.T. 237, 238)

  Another possibility, he said, would have been to include Unit 12 with Units 15, 14, and 11, for a total student population of 24,469 and a black student population of 8,761, or a black student percentage of 35.8%. (N.T. 238)

  Dr. Strickler emphasized, however, that his suggestions as to alternative administrative units had been calculated in rapid fashion and were offered merely as suggested units that might possibly have been considered, and were not meant to be recommendations.

  To offer recommendations for reorganization, he said, he would need more data than he had in formulating the alternatives he suggested at trial. He acknowledged that he had based these alternative suggestions on statistics furnished him concerning total student populations and black concentrations, and that in one case he did not know even these figures for one of his suggested alternatives.

  He acknowledged also that he neither had visited the schools in the districts in question, nor reviewed their curricula, nor did he know either the distances spanned by his suggested alternative administrative units, or the locations of the white and black populations within these suggested units. This was the type of information, he said, which he would need to make recommendations rather than mere suggestions. (N.T. 234, 236, 245, 249, 262, 281)

  Another witness for plaintiffs, Mr. Richard Anliot of the Human Relations Commission's Division of Education, testified simply that he believed there were reasonable alternatives to the reorganization plan adopted by Delaware County in 1968. Some of these alternatives, he said, were contained in Exhibit P-14, which the Delaware County School Board had compiled, but this exhibit did not exhaust the possible alternatives.

  The testimony of neither Strickler nor Anliot, however, nor any other evidence offered by plaintiffs, dealt with the economic or administrative feasibility of alternatives to Unit 12 or the 1968 Delaware County reorganization plan. Nor does their testimony indicate they considered factors of economic or administrative feasibility in reaching their respective conclusions as to alternatives. Strickler expressly indicated as noted above, that he had not considered a number of matters related to the economic and administrative feasibility of alternatives. Anliot similarly testified that he had not considered the locations of black and white populations within the component districts of the units in question. (N.T. 117, 118, 160)

  72. Defendant offered one witness, Clyde Dalton, Executive Director of the Delaware County Intermediate Unit, who testified inter alia as to several reasons the County School Board had chosen to combine Chester City and Chester Township. First, he said, Chester Township students had traditionally attended high school in Chester City.

  Second, Units 14 (Penn-Delco) and 13 (Chichester), the only areas other than Chester City contiguous to Chester Township, were both poorer than Chester City in terms of market value of taxable real estate per student.

  Third, he said, there was no need to help Chester City by merging it with any of the larger units contiguous to it. The need, he said, was rather to help the districts contiguous to Chester. (N.T. 307, 308)

  Other than the above testimony of Mr. Dalton that Units 14 and 13 were poorer than Chester City in terms of market value per student, defendants offered no testimony as to the economic and administrative feasibility of alternative reorganization plans and placements of Chester City and Township.

  73. Prior to reorganization the school districts of Chester and Chester Township and the County Board were each issued a publication titled "Desegregation Guidelines for Public Schools" and a companion document titled "Recommended Elements of a School Desegregation Plan", which were promulgated jointly by the Department of Public Instruction, now known as the Department of Education, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, and which were disseminated to those school districts which had been requested by the Department of Public Instruction and the Commission to submit desegregation plans. (N.T. 42, 43 Ex. P-41, 42) These documents set forth policy guidelines for dealing with segregation in the public schools. The Delaware County Board itself received copies of both documents. (N.T. 43)

  These guidelines provide inter alia :

  

"Any action, direct or indirect . . . which fosters racial segregation in the public schools, is against the public interest, and should not be taken by any public agency. Whenever any such action, past or present, has adversely affected public education, it is the responsibility of public school authorities to correct it, forthwith." (Ex. P-41)

  74. It is unclear whether the above-mentioned guidelines were meant to apply not only to the formulation of desegregation plans by individual districts or school authorities ordered to submit such plans, but also to the formulation of reorganization plans by county boards under the mandate of Act 150, which was unrelated to the matter of segregation. The guidelines themselves shed no light on this question, and while Richard B. Anliot, the Director of the Division of Education of the Human Relations Commission expressed his opinion that the guidelines did apply to reorganizations under Act 150, he acknowledged on cross-examination that the Human Relations Commission had not specifically authorized him to make such a representation. (N.T. 134-135).

  75. Prior to reorganization, the general counsel of the Human Relations Commission met with the Delaware County School Board to discuss the proposed merger of Chester City with Chester Township. (N.T. 188). The record indicates that at this meeting the general counsel of the Human Relations Commission at least voiced questions about the advisability of the proposed merger, although the record does not indicate whether he said the Human Relations Commission would oppose such merger, or whether this was in fact ever the Commission's position. (N.T. 27).

  76. Subsequent to and apparently as a result of this meeting between counsel for the Human Relations Commission and the Delaware County School Board, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction forwarded to each County Superintendent a letter explaining the meaning of the last sentence of paragraph 7(c) of the Standards for Approval of Administrative Units. (Ex. P-2, N.T. 83-99, see above Finding of Fact.) As noted above, the letter stated:

  

". . . . Please be advised that the intent of the language of the last sentence of this paragraph was to prevent de jure segregation, through the fixing of school district boundaries, whether for racial, religious, social or economic reasons." (N.T. 83, Ex. P-43)

  77. In 1967-68, prior to reorganization, the full-time professional staff of Chester City was 39.3% black. The comparable figure for Chester Township was 65.6%. The figure for Upland was 0%. (Ex. P-39).

  78. The combination of these districts into Administrative Unit 12 produced a unit with a full-time professional staff 39.2% black, the highest percentage of any unit in the county. (Ex. P-39)

  79. The full-time professional staff of Delaware County as a whole in 1967-68, prior to reorganization, was 7.7% black. (Ex. P-39).

  80. The black percentages of the full-time professional staffs, based on 1967-68 figures, for the units contiguous to Administrative Unit 12 were respectively as follows: Chichester (Unit 13) -- 4.3%; Penn-Delco (Unit 14) -- 0%; Wallingford - Swarthmore (Unit 11) --.8%; Ridley (Unit 7) --.3%.

  81. As of 1972-73, the black percentages of the time professional staffs of the several areas mentioned in the preceding findings were as follows: Administrative Unit 12 -- 38.7%; Delaware County -- 7.6%; Chichester (Unit 13) -- 3.1%; Penn-Delco (Unit 14) -- 0%; Wallingford-Swarthmore (Unit 11) -- 3.2%; Ridley (Unit 7) --.7%. (Ex. P-39).

  82. As noted above, Chester Township's students had traditionally attended Chester City High School on a tuition basis, and had in fact at one point successfully gone to court to enforce their interest in attending Chester City High School.

  83. Administrative Unit 12 had the second highest total market value of taxable real estate of all administrative units established under the 1968 reorganization plan. (Ex. P-18).

  84. The total market value of taxable real estate within Unit 12, however, declined between 1966 and 1970 from $184,884,800 to $174,869,900. (Ex. P-12, 15)

  85. Despite its total market value ranking, however, as of 1970-71 Unit 12 had a ratio of total market value per student of $12,781, the lowest of all units in the county. The ratios for Chester City, Chester Township, and Upland individually were respectively $13,017, $13,085, and $9,383. (Ex. P-17, P-18)

  86. The economic effort of a school district or administrative unit, however, is not a function solely of market value per student. State and federal subsidies must also be considered. (N.T. 322, 323)

  87. Administrative Unit 12 has the second highest net total budgeted appropriations per pupil of all administrative units in Delaware County. (Ex. D-4)

  88. Administrative Unit 12 has the highest per pupil budgeted expenditure for guidance related services to pupils of all school districts in Delaware County. (Ex. D-5).

  89. Administrative Unit 12 has the highest per pupil expenditure for budgeted instructional services to pupils of all school districts in Delaware County. (Ex. D-5).

  90. In 1967-68, 22.3% of the students of Administrative Unit 12 were designated as "educationally deprived" and thus entitled to compensatory education grants from the federal government and Secondary Education Act. This designation is made to pupils from families with incomes less than $2,000, pupils from families receiving aid to families of dependent children, pupils from foster homes, or pupils residing in institutions for neglected and delinquent children. (N.T. 61, 64, Ex. P-37).

  91. The educationally deprived pupils within Administrative Unit 12 constituted 45.2% of the educationally deprived children within the entire Delaware County. (N.T.67).

  92. The percentage of educationally deprived pupils in 1968 within Delaware County as a whole was 5.7%. (Ex. P-37)

  93. As of 1972-1973, the percentages of educationally deprived children within Unit 12 and Delaware County was 53.5% and 10.5%. (Ex. P-37)

   94. The median family income as of 1970 in Delaware County was $11,822, while in Chester City it was $8,511, Chester Township $9,812, and Upland $9,886. The County average was $18,822. Of the forty-nine (49) municipalities in Delaware County, in terms of family income Chester City ranked 48th, Chester Township 42nd, and Upland 41st. Unit 12 overall ranked in the lower third of all county administrative units. (Ex. P-32)

  95. As of 1970, Chester City had a median value of housing units of $10,000. The comparable values for Chester Township and Upland were respectively $16,800 and $12,600.

  96. The comparable median value for the county overall was $17,800.

  97. In terms of the relative rankings of the forty-nine (49) municipalities in Delaware County, on the basis of the above median value Chester City ranked 43rd, Chester Township 26th and Upland 39th. (N.T. 226, Ex. P-26, P-32).

  98. Chester City has 50.2% of all public assistance recipients in Delaware County. (Ex. P-40)

  99. As of 1970, 22.5% of all black residents of Chester City between the ages of 16 and 21 were not high school graduates. The percentage for blacks in other areas of Delaware County was 14.9%. (N.T. 228, Ex. P-33)

  100. The median years of school completed by black residents of Chester City between the ages of 16 and 21 of 1970 was 9.9 years. For blacks in the balance of Delaware County, the figure was 11.2 years. (Ex. P-33, N.T. 229)

  101. The median school years for all Chester City Residents, black and white, as of 1970 was 10.2 years. For all of Delaware County, the comparable measure was 12.4 years for males, 12.2 years for females. (N.T. 230, Ex. P-59).

  Administrative Unit 4.

  102. As noted above, under the 1968 Delaware County Reorganization Plan, Administrative Unit 4, otherwise known as the William Penn District, was formed from a merger of the Darby-Colwyn, Lansdowne-Aldan, and Yeadon School Districts. (Stipulation 1, Ex. P-10).

  103. At the time of the above merger, the student population of the Darby-Colwyn district was 22.1% black, while that of the Yeadon district was 34.2% black, and that of the Lansdowne-Aldan district was 2.7% black. (P-37).

  104. The 1968 merger produced in Administrative Unit 4 a student population of 16% black. (Ex. P-37).

  105. The student population of Administrative Unit 4 had decreased to 12.6% black by 1972-73. (Ex. P-37).

  106. As noted above, in 1965, under reorganization pursuant to Act 299, the Delaware County School Board's original proposal had placed the Darby-Colwyn district in Administrative Unit 5, but the State Board of Education had taken Darby-Colwyn out of Unit 5 and placed it in Unit 4. (N.T. 304, Ex. P-9).

  107. The Darby-Colwyn School Board approved its district's placement in Unit 4 in 1968. (N.T. 304).

  108. Under the 1968 Delaware County plan, the Delaware County School Board created Administrative Unit 4 contiguous to Units 3 and 5.

  109. Under the 1968 plan, Unit 3, the Upper Darby Unit, had a student population.1% black in 1968, and Unit 5, the Southeast Delco Unit, had a student population 19.8% black. (Ex. P-10, P-37). 110. The percentages of blacks within the full-time professional staffs of Unit 4 and its contiguous units were in 1968 and 1972 respectively: 1968 1972 Unit 4: 5.3% 5.7% Unit 5: 20.5% 17.0% Unit 3: .7% .5% (Ex. P. 39)

19750331

© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.



Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.