Brown v. Board of Education of City of Chicago, 71 C 694.

Citation386 F. Supp. 110
Decision Date06 December 1974
Docket NumberNo. 71 C 694.,71 C 694.
PartiesDuSharn L. BROWN, by Araina Brown, his parent and next friend, et al., Plaintiffs, v. BOARD OF EDUCATION OF the CITY OF CHICAGO, a body politic and corporate and an agency of the State of Illinois; and James F. Redmond, General Superintendent of Schools for the Board of Education of the City of Chicago, Defendants.
CourtUnited States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)

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Linda L. Randell, Theodore N. Miller, George L. Saunders, Jr., Christopher C. DeMuth, Chicago, Ill., for plaintiffs.

Robert J. Krajcir, Law Dept., Bd. of Education, Chicago, Ill., for defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

McLAREN, District Judge.

I. Introduction

This is a class action civil rights claim against the Board of Education of the City of Chicago (Board) and its general superintendent, James F. Redmond (Redmond) contending that the Board arbitrarily allocates the city's educational funds in a manner which systematically discriminates against non-Caucasian and poor children. Plaintiffs sue individually and on behalf of all students attending those Chicago public elementary schools for which the defendants allocate and spend a less than equal per-pupil share of state and local funds; plaintiffs seek to represent two sub-classes: (1) the sub-class of all non-Caucasian students and (2) the sub-class of all students from families of low or moderate income or dependent economic status.

This opinion shall constitute the Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law as provided by F.R.Civ.P. 52(a).

The case presented to the Court by all parties is largely composed of the Board's own statistical data which plaintiffs contend establishes a prima facie case of racial and economic discrimination. Defendants argue that the differentials in per-pupil expenditures revealed in this data are not significantly correlated to the racial or economic composition of individual schools. Instead, defendants argue that spending differentials result from natural causes such as school size, participation in experimental programs, and demographic make-up of an individual school. Other evidence in this case includes the depositions of Dr. Redmond and other agents of the Board, and the depositions of plaintiffs' and defendants' independent educational experts. Plaintiffs attempt to draw from this testimonial evidence proof that the level of per-pupil expenditures has a substantial impact on the quality of the education offered students and on the level of student achievement. None of the parties has chosen to present in-court testimonial evidence.

II. Statements of Facts
A. Background of Racial and Economic Demographics in the Chicago Public Elementary Schools

The City of Chicago, like most large American urban centers, has racially segregated residential housing patterns. These housing patterns are significant in the instant action because the defendants here have adopted the neighborhood school concept. Thus an overwhelming majority of the public elementary schools in the City of Chicago have student body memberships comprised of 90% or more of one racial group:

(i) In the 1969-70 school year, of the 416 elementary schools, 174 had student populations over 90% non-Caucasian, 142 had student populations over 90% Caucasian, and 100 had student populations that were "mixed," that is, no race accounted for more than 90%.
(ii) In 1970-71, of the 427 elementary schools, 198 had student populations over 90% non-Caucasian, 101 had student populations over 90% Caucasian, and 128 had student populations that were "mixed."
(iii) In 1971-72, of the 434 elementary schools, 208 had student populations over 90% non-Caucasian, 94 had student populations over 90% Caucasian, and 132 had student populations that were "mixed".
(iv) In 1972-73, of the 446 elementary schools, 221 had student populations over 90% non-Caucasian, 92 had student populations over 90% Caucasian, and 133 had student populations that were "mixed".
(v) The percentage of schools having student populations over 90% non-Caucasian or over 90% Caucasian changed in only a minor degree over the four-year 1969-73 period:
                                         1969-70   1970-71   1971-72   1972-73
                Over 90% non-Caucasian
                schools                   41.8%     46.4%     47.9%     49.6%
                Over 90% Caucasian
                schools                   34.1%     23.7%     21.7%     20.6%
                "Mixed" schools           24.0%     30.0%     30.4%     29.8%
                Schools over 90%
                non-Caucasian or
                over 90% Caucasian        76.0%     70.0%      69.6%    70.2%
                

Defendants correctly argue that no evidence is present in this record of any act by the Board which directly caused segregated housing patterns. Moreover, plaintiffs do not argue here that the neighborhood school concept, where a de jure policy of segregation has not existed, is constitutionally infirm. Therefore, evidence that one racial group comprises more than 90% of the student membership in a given school does not, standing alone, establish discrimination on the basis of race. However, this evidence of the pattern of racial composition of Chicago elementary schools is relevant to the instant action because the Board's funding allocation policies do not operate in a vacuum; in establishing funding policies the Board must recognize that a racially neutral policy may result in an invidiously discriminatory result because of the established racial attendance patterns in the school system.

Moreover, many neighborhoods in the City of Chicago are almost exclusively comprised of low or moderate income families or families of dependent economic status; similarly, many city neighborhoods are almost exclusively comprised of middle or upper income families. Public elementary school students, with few exceptions, are required by defendants' districting and pupil assignment policies to attend schools in the neighborhoods where they reside. Plaintiffs maintain that as a consequence, children from lower income families generally are required by defendants' policies to attend schools located in poorer neighborhoods, while children from higher income families attend schools in wealthier neighborhoods. Defendants implicitly accept this conclusion. They admit that eligibility for funds under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA)1 can serve as an indicator of low economic status. Title I schools appear to be clustered in neighborhoods with relatively low socio-economic status SES. Since most elementary students attend school in the neighborhoods in which they reside, it is a logical inference that schools located in poor neighborhoods will have student populations largely composed of children from poorer families.

B. Variations in Per-Pupil Staffing Expenditures

With this background data established, we turn now to plaintiffs' central factual contention that the Board's funding policies cause invidious racial and economic discrimination in per-pupil staffing expenditures. Plaintiffs' cause on this point is based entirely on an analysis of the Board's expenditures for the school years 1969-70 and 1970-71. Plaintiffs' expert witness, Richard A. Berk, analyzed the 1969-70 per-pupil cost for the staffing of the 416 elementary schools in the Chicago school system. His analysis showed that the 174 schools with more than a 90% black student body received an average of $391 per pupil, while the 142 schools with more than 90% white membership received an average of $423 per pupil. The remaining 100 "mixed" schools received an average of $406 per pupil. Plaintiffs' expert also found that the same sort of systematic allocation of resources was apparent when schools were measured on the basis of socio-economic status. Children in the 184 Title I schools (generally poorer children) received an average of $387 per pupil, while children in the 232 non-Title I schools (relatively richer children) received $420 per pupil.

Plaintiffs' analysis of the data for 1970-71 showed a like distribution of funds. Total instructional staffing expenditures per pupil for the 198 non-white schools equaled $451 while the expenditures for the 101 predominantly white schools equaled $488. Expenditures per-pupil in the mixed schools equaled $458. Defendants object to certain aspects of the methodology used to obtain these statistics, but defendants' own reports to the citizens of Chicago, Selected School Characteristics, 1969-1970 and Selected School Characteristics, 1970-1971 use similar statistical methods. Moreover, this Court's examination of the July 1972 Board Report entitled Per Pupil Staffing Costs — Elementary Schools — First Semester 1971-72 and other reports reveals that the Board found that mean racial differentials in 1970-71 in staff expenditures were of a similar magnitude — about 8.3%. Likewise, the Berk analysis shows for 1969-70 and 1970-71, 8.2% (Defendants' exhibit D, page V-6; Berk direct testimony, p. 8). This Court therefore finds that for the school years 1969-70 and 1970-71 the mean per-pupil expenditure for staffing costs for white schools exceeded the expenditure in predominantly non-Caucasian schools by more than 8%.2

The relationship between racial composition of a school and total per pupil instructional expenditures for 1970-71 can also be demonstrated by ranking the various schools by dollars allotted. When rank ordered, plaintiffs' data shows that while 22.7% of the non-white schools are in the lowest 20% expenditure category, only 4% of the white schools fall in the bottom 20%. Similarly, 35.8% of the predominantly nonwhite schools are in the bottom 30% while only 6% of the predominantly white schools fall in the bottom 30% category. In contrast, 34.6% of the white schools score in the top 20% group, while only 14.7% of the predominantly black schools are in the top 20% expenditure category.

Defendants' data contained in d...

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