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KROMNICK v. SCHOOL DIST. OF PHILADELPHIA

January 17, 1983

LORRAINE KROMNICK, LORRAINE BRANCATO, GLADYS HIRSH, and REGINA KATZ
v.
SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA and BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BECHTLE

 BECHTLE, Judge.

 This employment discrimination class action brought by four white elementary school teachers challenges the validity of a 75%/125% quota system used by defendant School District of Philadelphia ("District") to maintain racial balance in the faculties of all of the schools (elementary, middle or junior high school, and high school) of the District. *fn1" Under the quota system, each school is required to employ between 75% and 125% of the existing proportion of black teachers employed city-wide at that school's respective level (elementary, middle or junior high school, and high school) in the school system. The quota system was first imposed by the District in June, 1978 at the insistence of the Office of Civil Rights of the then existing United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare ("OCR") as a remedial device to desegregate school faculties and in order to maintain eligibility for federal school funding. On June 23, 1982, OCR informed the District that, as Philadelphia's school faculties were now successfully integrated, the District need not continue its 75%/125% quota system. Nonetheless, on August 2, 1982, the School Board of Philadelphia decided to retain the 75%/125% quota in order to maintain faculty integration.

 Plaintiffs contend that use of a quota system for the sole purpose of maintaining faculty racial balance violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiffs also contend that the quota system violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Pursuant to plaintiffs' demand for injunctive and declaratory relief, a final injunction hearing was held on September 1 and 2, 1982, and on December 3, 1982, the Court heard oral argument. The Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law are set forth below.

 I. Findings of Fact

 The District currently employs over 12,000 teachers in the approximately 285 public schools in the City of Philadelphia. Prior to 1969, the distribution of black and white teachers at each level (elementary, middle or junior high school, and high school) of the school system reflected a racial imbalance. Many schools had a disproportionate number of either white or black teachers in comparison to the district-wide employment of white and black teachers. For this reason, many school faculties were "racially identifiable" as either white schools or black schools.

 In 1969, the District, under a Consent Order which the District voluntarily entered into with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ("PHRC"), set the following integration goals: that no elementary school would have fewer than 20% of either black or white teachers, and that no secondary school would have fewer than 10% of either race as teachers. In order to achieve its integration goals the District made certain changes in its teacher placement policy. Between 1969 and 1978, newly hired teachers were assigned to particular schools on the basis of their race and the District's needs in light of its quota. Transfers of existing teachers were similarly affected. Voluntary transfers were restricted where a transfer would create or aggravate a racial imbalance in either the transferor or transferee school. No restrictions were placed on involuntary transfers. Between 1969 and 1978, as a result of these policy changes, the District made substantial progress toward the integration goals established by the Consent Order.

 In order to maintain eligibility for the ESAA funds, the District agreed to adopt the 75%/125% OCR policy. Under the policy, each individual school in the District would be required to employ between 75% and 125% of the existing proportion of black teachers employed city-wide at that school's respective level (elementary school, middle or junior high school, and high school) in the school system. Resolution of Board of Education of School District of Philadelphia (August 21, 1978); see Letter from Legal Counsel for School District of Philadelphia to OCR (August 22, 1978). According to the OCR, adherence to these federal guidelines would result in complete faculty racial integration in all of the schools of the District.

 As a result of the quota system, minimum and maximum limits were placed upon the number of black and white teachers who could be assigned to each school within the system. For example, if 40% of the District's elementary school teachers were black, each elementary school would be required to employ between 30% to 50% black teachers, i.e., 75% to 125% of 40%. In an elementary school with 10 teachers, 3 to 5 would have to be black under the OCR 75%/125% quota. In another example, if 50% of the District's high school teachers were black, each high school would be required to employ between 37.5% to 62.5% black teachers, i.e., 75% to 125% of 50%. Thus, in a high school with 10 teachers, 4 to 6 would have to be black under the OCR 75%/125% quota.

 In September, 1978, September, 1979, September, 1980, and December, 1981, the District required a number of teachers to be involuntarily transferred because of decreases in student enrollment. In order to meet the needs of reassigning teachers according to the decline in the number of students, keeping in mind the restrictions imposed by the 75%/125% quota, the following formula was used to implement the involuntary transfers: When a transfer was needed from a particular school, the least senior teacher of the race of which the school was racially identifiable would be the one who would be transferred. For example, if a school was racially identifiable as white under the 75%/125% quota, the least senior white teacher would be transferred, even though that white teacher had more school seniority than a similarly situated black teacher. Moreover, after a teacher's transfer out of a particular school, his or her placement in a new school was controlled by his or her race because of the need to maintain the faculty integration levels at all schools within the 75%/125% standard. Thus, a teacher was subject to being involuntarily transferred out of a particular school solely on the basis of race, and then was subject to a restriction in the choice of schools to which he or she could be reassigned solely on the basis of race. On a few occasions, teachers were involuntarily transferred out of a school solely on the basis of race without a specific numerically related need for the reassignment of that teacher, because of the District's singular desire in these cases to meet the 75%/125% standard.

 On June 23, 1982, OCR informed the District that, based on a review of the District's assignment of its teachers under the ESAA 75%/125% quota, the District was determined to be "substantially in compliance with the agreement" and that the "district is under no further obligation to continue to meet the 75%/125% standard." Letter from OCR to Superintendent of School District of Philadelphia (June 23, 1982). OCR noted, however, that the "district is free to continue to maintain this standard [75%/125%] if it so chooses." Id. OCR emphasized that "while the district is not required to meet strict racial ratios, the district must continue to use nondiscriminatory policies in the hiring, firing and assignment of teachers." Id.

 On August 2, 1982, the School Board of Philadelphia decided to continue the 75%/125% quota system in order to maintain faculty integration. The purpose of the quota as presently applied under the School Board's decision is not to remedy past discrimination in teacher assignments, but to guard against the possibility that the system will revert to its pre-1978 level of racial imbalance in faculty assignments. Thus, the basic character of the ...


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