Keyes v. School District Number One, Denver, Colorado, Civ. A. No. C-1499.

Decision Date21 May 1970
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. C-1499.
Citation313 F. Supp. 90
PartiesWilfred KEYES, individually and on behalf of Christi Keyes, a minor, et al., Plaintiffs, v. SCHOOL DISTRICT NUMBER ONE, DENVER, COLORADO, the Board of Education, School District Number One, Denver, Colorado, William C. Berge, individually and as President, Board of Education, School District Number One, Denver, Colorado, Stephen J. Knight, Jr., individually and as Vice President, Board of Education, School District Number One, Denver, Colorado, James C. Perrill, Frank K. Southworth, John H. Amesse, James D. Voorhees, Jr., and Rachel B. Noel, individually and as members, Board of Education, School District Number One, Denver, Colorado, Robert D. Gilberts, individually and as Superintendent of Schools, School District Number One, Denver, Colorado, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Colorado

Barnes & Jensen, by Craig S. Barnes, Holland & Hart, by Gordon G. Greiner, Denver, Colo., Conrad K. Harper, New York City, for plaintiffs.

Wood, Ris & Hames, by William K. Ris, Henry, Cockrell, Quinn & Creighton, by Thomas E. Creighton, Benjamin L. Craig, Michael Jackson, Denver, Colo., for defendants, except John H. Amesse, James D. Voorhees, Jr., and Rachel B. Noel, as individuals.


WILLIAM E. DOYLE, District Judge.

It is to be recalled that this suit, which has been previously before the Court, was instituted as a class action by Negro and Hispano public school students and their parents. Plaintiffs complained that there was de jure segregation in many of the schools in School District Number One, Denver, Colorado, and that an unequal educational opportunity was being provided in the segregated schools within the District. On March 21, 1970, after approximately three weeks of trial, this Court handed down a memorandum opinion and order finding that certain schools, elementary, junior high and a high school within an area of Denver known as Park Hill, and also some 15 schools within the core city, were segregated. It was also concluded that our temporary injunction entered in August 1969, finding a condition of de jure segregation in certain schools resulting from the Denver Board of Education's action rescinding Resolutions 1520, 1524 and 1531, which had been designed to have an integrating effect on Park Hill schools, must be made permanent. We ordered full implementation of these Resolutions. D.C., 313 F. Supp. 61.

A further determination was that certain schools within the core city were segregated as the result of housing patterns and the neighborhood school system; that this constituted de facto segregation and was not unconstitutional per se. A corollary finding and conclusion was that the segregated core city schools in question were providing an unequal educational opportunity to minority groups as evidenced by low achievement and morale. The causes of this inferiority were held to be the segregated condition, together with concentration of minority teachers, low teacher experience and high teacher turnover in each of the schools. We stated that:

The present state of the law is that separate educational facilities (of the de facto variety) may be maintained, but a fundamental and absolute requisite is that these shall be equal. Once it is found that these separate facilities are unequal in the quality of education provided, there arises a substantial probability that a constitutional violation exists. This probability becomes almost conclusive where minority groups are relegated to the inferior schools. 313 F.Supp. at 83.

We thus concluded that the School District had violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by maintaining and operating schools which deprived the recipients of an equal educational opportunity. Both plaintiffs and defendants were asked to submit plans to remedy the inequality found to exist.

The cause is then presently before us for the purpose of fashioning a remedy which hopefully will establish equality of educational opportunity in the Court designated segregated schools.

Both plaintiffs and defendants have submitted lengthy plans for improving educational opportunity and many of the foremost authorities on this subject, both with respect to the Denver area and nationwide, have been called upon to testify.


Plaintiffs' proposed plan involves a three-step process for raising achievement and equalizing educational opportunity. The first step is desegregation, or the elimination of racial isolation of minority students through cross-transportation of pupils. Plaintiffs have concentrated on this phase of the program and the plans for desegregation are, for the most part, the product of computer analysis. The second phase involves integration, which the plaintiffs define as the educational process of promoting mutual respect and understanding among students, teachers and the community. The final portion of the plaintiffs' plan suggests a system of compensatory education programs, carried out in an integrated environment, designed to equalize achievement.

At the outset we note that plaintiffs urge that the Court should reconsider certain schools which plaintiffs consider "target" schools, but which the Court found not to be segregated inferior schools. Plaintiffs call attention to the fact that two schools, namely Elyria and Smedley, are not only inferior in terms of achievement, but also meet the guideline set by the Court that the school contain at least 70 to 75 percent Negro or Hispano students. Furthermore, plaintiffs ask us to reconsider at least nine other schools which have a combined minority population of over 70 percent.1 Failure to include Elyria and Smedley Schools was due to oversight. These must now be included in a plan for relief. We have concluded that none of the plans are wholly suitable and that a carefully tailored plan consisting of parts of the submitted ideas should be adopted. Nevertheless, a brief description of the plaintiffs' and defendants' proposals will furnish some understanding of the problem and of this order.

Plaintiffs propose four alternative plans for desegregation of elementary schools. The first of these desegregates the Court designated elementary schools by a system of cross-bussing. The total number of schools involved would be 29; the total number of students to be transported would be 8,380; the average miles traveled per student one-way would be 6.4; the minimum Anglo enrollment at any school designated by the Court would total 54 percent.

The second proposed alternative plan calls for enrolling only pupils in grades 4-6 in the 12 Court designated elementary schools. Each of these schools would be paired with one or more Anglo schools which would be used only for grades K-3. This plan would involve 31 schools; 11,109 students would be transported; the average number of miles traveled per student one-way would be 6.3; minimum Anglo enrollment at the Court designated schools would be 51 percent.

Plan three is similar to plan one except that it would include all of plaintiffs' target elementary schools rather than just the Court designated elementary schools. It would, of course, require a much greater transportation effort involving as it does numerous schools which the Court has not included.

Plan four is similar to plan two, except that all of plaintiffs' target schools are provided with relief.

Alternative plans are submitted by plaintiffs for desegregating junior high schools. The first of these would desegregate Cole Junior High School by reassigning to Cole some 1,038 students already being bussed to Thomas Jefferson and John F. Kennedy. Also, students now being bussed to Cole would be bussed instead to Thomas Jefferson and John F. Kennedy. This plan would increase Anglo enrollment at Cole to 66 percent. The second alternative plan would desegregate not only Cole, but also Horace Mann, Lake, Morey and Baker Junior High Schools by a system of cross-bussing similar to that involved in the first alternative plan.

Plaintiffs also propose alternative programs for equalizing educational opportunity at Manual High School. First, they recommend alteration of the school attendance boundaries of Manual, East and South, to create long narrow north-south corridors for each of the above schools. This would result in many Anglo students from south Denver attending Manual. As a second alternative, the plaintiffs suggest that Manual be made an open school which could be attended by any student in the District and which would specialize in vocational and pre-professional training. This plan is essentially the same as that proposed by the Board with respect to Manual.

Finally, plaintiffs have suggested several programs which would aid in creating cultural understanding and respect as well as programs for equalizing educational opportunity through compensatory education. These include faculty and staff inservice training and orientation, programs for community involvement, use of paraprofessionals, tutorial systems, individualized instruction, increased pre-school training and others which are very similar to the School Board's suggestions, except that under plaintiffs' plan, desegregation constitutes an essential first step.

The defendants' program for equalizing educational opportunity in the Court designated schools is basically one of compensatory education, with little emphasis on desegregation. Defendants offer some opportunity for mixing of the races, in that pupils at the fifteen Court designated schools could transfer to a school of their choice on a space guaranteed basis with transportation provided by the District, if the transfer will improve racial balance. This is similar to our suggestion in the March 21, 1970 opinion and it differs from the earlier School Board VOE program since the availability of space at a receiving school is not a precondition to transfer.

The remaining of defendants'...

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