United States v. State of Texas, Civ. A. No. 1424.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
Writing for the CourtJUSTICE
Citation321 F. Supp. 1043
PartiesUNITED STATES of America v. STATE OF TEXAS, Texas Education Agency, Dr. J. W. Edgar, Commissioner of Education, Cason Independent School District, et al.
Decision Date24 November 1970
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 1424.

321 F. Supp. 1043

UNITED STATES of America
v.
STATE OF TEXAS, Texas Education Agency, Dr. J. W. Edgar, Commissioner of Education, Cason Independent School District, et al.

Civ. A. No. 1424.

United States District Court, E. D. Texas, Marshall Division.

November 24, 1970.


321 F. Supp. 1044
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
321 F. Supp. 1045
Roby Hadden, U. S. Atty., Tyler, Tex., David Vanderhoof, Dept. of Justice, Civil Rights Div., Washington, D. C., Alexandra Polyzoides, Atty., Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington, D. C., for plaintiff

Crawford C. Martin, Atty. Gen., James C. McCoy and Pat Bailey, Asst. Attys. Gen., Austin, Tex., Henry Harbour, Longview, Tex., Harold Nix, Daingerfield, Tex., Hugh D. Reid, Jr., Fair-field, Tex., J. B. Sallas, Crockett, Tex., for defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

JUSTICE, District Judge.

Procedural Background

The original complaint in this action was filed on March 6, 1970. On June 26, 1970, an amended complaint was filed joining additional defendants. The matter came to trial in Marshall, Texas, on September 14, 1970.

Summary of Facts

The complaint in this action charges the defendants with acts and practices which have denied black children equal educational opportunities in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The allegations are based particularly on actions in connection with the creation and continued maintenance of nine all-black school districts.1 It is charged that the defendants have engaged in direct actions, or, alternatively, have failed to act in a manner authorized under Texas law, so as to assure all children in the State of Texas equal educational opportunities. Further, it is alleged that the State of Texas, through the Texas Education Agency, has failed, as the chief supervisory body of public education in Texas and as disbursor of State educational assistance, adequately to oversee and supervise the districts within the State so that no child is denied on the ground of race the benefits of programs supported by Federal funds.

Since the filing of the amended complaint, a number of actions have been taken by defendant county boards of education

321 F. Supp. 1046
which have resulted in the elimination of the all-black districts within their jurisdictions.2 These actions were taken voluntarily by the county and local officials and have been acknowledged by the State Agency. The evidence in this case related to the factual situation prior to the filing of the amended complaint. The Court has, however, had no opportunity to evaluate the results of the actions with respect to the allegations in the complaint and is without sufficient information or educational expertise to determine whether these voluntary consolidation actions in fact constitute adequate and appropriate relief for the violations charged in the complaint. This opinion is, therefore, based upon the facts which existed prior to the commencement of this action and does not take into consideration annexation or consolidation actions which were taken after that time. The Court has, of course, considered these actions in developing its order for relief

Parties

The defendants fall into three general categories: (1) the State Agency, (2) independent school districts, and (3) county boards of education and county superintendents.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is a proper party to this action because it is charged with fulfilling the duty placed on the State by the Constitution of the State of Texas (Art. 7, § 1) to operate a system of public schools. The complaint against TEA proceeded on the theory that present policies and practices of that Agency, including the disbursement of State and Federal Assistance in the form of both supervision and financial support, are responsible for or contribute to the operation of the all-black districts involved in this suit. In order to receive Federal financial assistance for distribution to school districts within the State, the TEA executed and filed with the Department of Health, Education and Welfare an Assurance of Compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and pertinent HEW Regulations and Policies. This Assurance must be viewed, at the very least, as evidence that the State Agency has known and now recognizes the extent of its obligations existing under Title VI and the Fourteenth Amendment.

Each independent school district* is a proper party to this action, since each such unit is authorized to operate under the actual management and immediate control of its own superintendent and board of trustees. Independent school districts are under only the general supervision of the TEA, and the county boards of education and county superintendents are responsible under Texas law for supervision of independent school districts only in the area of transportation and interdistrict transfers. (See §§ 16.52(a) and 21.062(a), Texas Education Code (1969)).3

321 F. Supp. 1047

With respect to the common school districts** concerned herein, the respective county boards of education and county superintendents of the counties in which they are situated, rather than the officials of the individual common school district, were correctly made parties to the suit. Under Texas law, the "County superintendent has under direction of the commissioner of education, the immediate supervision of all matters pertaining to public education in his county," and the individual boards of trustees of common school districts are authorized to act only subject to the supervision of the county officials. (See § 17.59(a), Texas Education Code (1969)).

Historical Background

Prior to 1954, the State of Texas operated separate schools for white and black children pursuant to the State Constitution and statutes. The result was commonly the so-called dual school districts. The necessity for separate education,4 enhanced by the sparce settlement of many rural areas in the State, also led to the establishment of school district lines enclosing single schools established to serve small communities, often consisting only of members of one race.5 By 1969, many of these small districts had been consolidated into neighboring districts of greater size under provisions of Texas law.6 (See Vernon's Revised Civil Statutes, § 2742f). This law required, inter alia, that in order for a district to be consolidated or for a portion of a district to be annexed to another district, it would be necessary to secure the approval of the majority of the voters residing in the area affected.

Under section 19.001 of the new Texas Education Code Which became effective on September 1, 1969, the State legislature provided a further means for eliminating small, uneconomical, and, indeed, racially segregated school districts. This section of the Code states that the county board of education may enlarge the territory of any school district within its jurisdiction having more than 150 students (more than 400 in the case of a common rather than an independent school district) by annexing to it any adjoining district having fewer than 250 students. The Statute requires no petition by the district's residents and no vote of approval to effect such action, but merely the action of the county board.

The State has further demonstrated its interest in assisting in the reduction of the number of small and uneconomical districts by implementation of a program of incentive aid. (Vernon's Revised Civil Statutes § 2815-4). This program is designed to encourage districts to consolidate

321 F. Supp. 1048
by allowing the newly formed unit to receive, subject to certain statutory restrictions, State assistance equivalent to the total amount which would have been received by each of the former districts rather than determining State aid on the basis of the combined enrollment

The formula for state aid under the Minimum Foundation Program is designed to favor small districts. Therefore, when a small district is enlarged through the annexation to it of a neighboring unit the newly enlarged district would be entitled to use a base for calculating its Minimum Foundation formula allotment that would be less favorable than would be the case if both former districts were counted separately and the two formula allotments combined.

Factual Background Concerning School Districts

Each defendant described above is, to some degree, responsible for the creation or administration of one or more of the nine all-black school districts whose continued existence is at issue in this case. Appendix A to this opinion provides a list of these defendants, indicating for each its appropriate all-black companion district or districts. In addition to the general administration of the all-black districts, the defendants have arranged for, approved or acquiesced in an assortment of detachments and annexations of territory and student transfer and transportation arrangements which have had the effect of transferring students between administrative units so as to create and perpetuate all-black districts.

Prior to the commencement of this action, the defendant county boards of education had, in each instance, denied, avoided, or failed to consider or order the consolidation of these all-black and educationally inferior districts into adjacent units under their jurisdiction. The defendant State Agency has, in each instance, financed, provided textbooks for, accredited, and otherwise assisted in the operation of the all-black districts. Finally, the State has approved the detachments and annexations of territory and the interdistrict transfers of students, and has demonstrated its approval by financing the newly created units and "receiving" districts. In this regard, the State Agency has made no attempt to exercise a supervising function to see that no agency of the State pursues actions and practices which contravene the requirements of Title VI and...

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47 practice notes
  • Evans v. Buchanan, Civ. A. No. 1816-1822.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Delaware)
    • March 27, 1975
    ...cited with approval Haney v. County Board of Education of Sevier County, 429 F.2d 364 (8th Cir. 1969), and United States v. Texas, 321 F.Supp. 1043 (E.D.Tex. 1970), aff'd, 447 F.2d 441 (5th Cir. 1971), cert. denied, sub nom., Edgar v. United States, 404 U.S. 1016, 92 S.Ct. 675, 30 L.Ed.2d 6......
  • Tinsley v. Palo Alto Unified School Dist.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • April 13, 1979
    ...County, 429 F.2d 364 (CA8 1970) (State contributed to separation of races by drawing of school district lines); United States v. Texas, 321 F.Supp. 1043 (E.D.Tex.1970), aff'd, 447 F.2d 441 (CA5 1971), cert. denied sub nom. Edgar v. United States, 404 U.S. 1016, 92 S.Ct. 675, 30 L.Ed.2d 663 ......
  • United States v. State, No. 17-13595
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • September 17, 2019
    ...Camino Cmty. Coll. Dist. , 454 F. Supp. 825, 826–27 (C.D. Cal. 1978), aff’d , 600 F.2d 1258 (9th Cir. 1979) ; United States v. Texas , 321 F. Supp. 1043, 1057–58 & n.18 (E.D. Tex. 1970), supplemented by 330 F. Supp. 235 (E.D. Tex. 1971), aff’d by 447 F.2d 441 (5th Cir. 1971) ; United States......
  • United States v. State of Tex., Civ. A. No. 5281.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • January 12, 1981
    ...districts and to submit a comprehensive enforcement plan to ensure equal educational opportunity for all students in the state. D.C., 321 F.Supp. 1043 (1970). After the submission of a proposed plan and a series of hearings, an order was entered mandating that TEA implement a comprehensive ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
47 cases
  • Evans v. Buchanan, Civ. A. No. 1816-1822.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Delaware)
    • March 27, 1975
    ...cited with approval Haney v. County Board of Education of Sevier County, 429 F.2d 364 (8th Cir. 1969), and United States v. Texas, 321 F.Supp. 1043 (E.D.Tex. 1970), aff'd, 447 F.2d 441 (5th Cir. 1971), cert. denied, sub nom., Edgar v. United States, 404 U.S. 1016, 92 S.Ct. 675, 30 L.Ed.2d 6......
  • Tinsley v. Palo Alto Unified School Dist.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • April 13, 1979
    ...County, 429 F.2d 364 (CA8 1970) (State contributed to separation of races by drawing of school district lines); United States v. Texas, 321 F.Supp. 1043 (E.D.Tex.1970), aff'd, 447 F.2d 441 (CA5 1971), cert. denied sub nom. Edgar v. United States, 404 U.S. 1016, 92 S.Ct. 675, 30 L.Ed.2d 663 ......
  • United States v. State, No. 17-13595
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • September 17, 2019
    ...Camino Cmty. Coll. Dist. , 454 F. Supp. 825, 826–27 (C.D. Cal. 1978), aff’d , 600 F.2d 1258 (9th Cir. 1979) ; United States v. Texas , 321 F. Supp. 1043, 1057–58 & n.18 (E.D. Tex. 1970), supplemented by 330 F. Supp. 235 (E.D. Tex. 1971), aff’d by 447 F.2d 441 (5th Cir. 1971) ; United States......
  • United States v. State of Tex., Civ. A. No. 5281.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • January 12, 1981
    ...districts and to submit a comprehensive enforcement plan to ensure equal educational opportunity for all students in the state. D.C., 321 F.Supp. 1043 (1970). After the submission of a proposed plan and a series of hearings, an order was entered mandating that TEA implement a comprehensive ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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