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SEATTLE SCH. DIST. NO. 1 OF KING CTY. v. WASHINGTO

June 15, 1979

SEATTLE SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1 OF KING COUNTY, WASHINGTON, a Municipal Corporation, et al., Plaintiffs, and American Civil Liberties Union et al., Intervenor Plaintiffs,
v.
The STATE of Washington et al., Defendants, and Citizens for Voluntary Integration Committee (Ci.V.I.C.) et al., Intervenor Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: VOORHEES

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

Based upon the complete record in this case, including testimony and evidence introduced at the trial of this matter, the Court makes the following:

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. Parties

 1.1 Plaintiff Seattle School District No. 1 of King County, Washington (sometimes called "Seattle" or the "District" herein) is under Revised Code of Washington Title 28A ("RCW 28A") a lawfully organized and functioning municipal corporation. It is charged by law of the State of Washington "to provide without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste or sex . . . a general and uniform system of public schools" (An.Const. art. IX, §§ 1 and 2) for the educational instruction of the approximately 54,000 common school students, of whom 37.3 percent are racial minorities according to current federal reporting categories, in kindergarten and grades 1 through 12. There are approximately 112 schools in Seattle, which is the largest public school district in the State of Washington, the boundaries of which are substantially coterminous with the boundaries of the City of Seattle, King County, Washington.

 1.3 Plaintiff Pasco School District No. 1 of Franklin County, Washington (sometimes "Pasco" herein) is under RCW 28A a lawfully organized and functioning municipal corporation. It is charged by law of the State of Washington "to provide without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste or sex . . . a general and uniform system of public schools" for the educational instruction of the approximately 5,300 common school students, of whom 26.5 percent are racial minorities according to current federal reporting categories, in kindergarten and grades 1 through 12. There are approximately ten schools in the Pasco School District, which includes the City of Pasco and the contiguous unincorporated areas of south Franklin County, Washington.

 1.4 Plaintiff Board of Directors of Seattle School District No. 1 (sometimes the "Board" herein) is composed of seven publicly elected members. The Board commits itself and adopts policy by a majority vote of its members. It is the statutorily constituted legislative, adjudicative, and administrative governing body of the District and is responsible for operating and setting administrative and educational policy for the District. All plaintiff Board members have taken as a prior condition of assuming their public duties the following oath of office:

 
I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully and impartially perform the duties of Director, Seattle School District No. 1 as prescribed by law and to the best of my ability, and that I will support and maintain the Constitution of the State of Washington and the United States. So help me God.

 1.5 As indicated in the caption to this document plaintiffs Sutton, Alexander, Bleakney, Olson, Hollingsworth and Hittman are members of the Seattle School Board whose identified children are attending school in Seattle. They have been declared guardians ad litem for those children by Order of this Court.

 1.6 Plaintiffs Vassar, Annie Jones, Wasserman, Davis, Andrews, Tangalin, Santos, Marr, Joe and Mona Jones, Charles, and Taupule are parents of children, identified in the caption to this document, who are attending school in Seattle. They have been declared guardians ad litem for those children by the Order of this Court.

 1.7 The individual plaintiff students represent the diverse racial and ethnic mix of students in Seattle.

 1.8 Intervenor plaintiff American Civil Liberties Union of Washington (ACLU of Washington) is the Washington State affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, a nationwide, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of the civil rights and liberties of all persons.

 1.9 Intervenor plaintiff American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is an international social change organization related to the Society of Friends (Quakers). Among the AFSC's basic goals is the protection and promotion of the civil rights and liberties of all persons.

 1.10 Intervenor plaintiff Church Council of Greater Seattle is an ecumenical organization established in 1969 to provide a structure within which 22 church denominations (local congregations, and church-related entities, Protestant and Catholic, in the Metropolitan Seattle Area) can work cooperatively.

 1.12 Intervenor plaintiff Seattle Branch, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (Seattle Branch, NAACP) is the local affiliate of the NAACP. Throughout its 60 year existence, the NAACP has had as a primary purpose the achievement of quality integrated education for all persons regardless of race.

 1.13 Intervenor plaintiff Seattle Chapter of the American Jewish Committee is the local branch of a national organization founded in 1906 with stated purposes of resisting and eliminating racism, bigotry and anti-Semitism.

 1.14 Intervenor Plaintiff Seattle Urban League is a local affiliate of the National Urban League, a nationwide, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to equal opportunity and racial justice.

 1.15 Each of the intervenor plaintiff organizations described in paragraphs 1.8 through 1.14 above has members or constituents whose minor children attend the Seattle schools, and each intervenor plaintiff sues on its own behalf and on behalf of such members and their children.

 1.16 The individual intervenor plaintiffs named in the caption to this document are taxpayers residing within the boundaries of Seattle and are parents of minor children, named in the caption to this document, who attend public schools in Seattle. These individual plaintiffs are black, white, Chicano, and Asian-American citizens of the United States who bring this action each on their own behalf and on behalf of their minor children, for whom they have been appointed guardians ad litem by Order of this Court.

 1.17 The rights of the members or constituents of the above intervenor plaintiff organizations and other persons to equal protection of the laws is germane to the organizational purposes of the intervenor plaintiff organizations.

 1.18 Additional intervening plaintiff East Pasco Neighborhood Council is a nonprofit corporation organized under the laws of the State of Washington in 1971. The East Pasco Neighborhood Council is primarily composed of minority individuals and families. The general membership resides in an area known as "East Pasco." East Pasco is an area which has been physically segregated from the business area and majority population of Pasco by the tracks of the Northern Pacific Railroad. These railroad tracks were constructed in approximately 1943.

 1.19 The individual additional intervening plaintiffs named in the caption are all residents of East Pasco. Each of these individual intervening plaintiffs is a racial minority in Pasco, and each is a parent or guardian ad litem, as identified in the caption, for a student of the Pasco School District No. 1 of Franklin County, Washington.

 1.20 Additional intervenor plaintiff the United States of America has statutory authority under Section 902 of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000h-2, to participate in actions, such as the present matter, involving alleged denial of equal protection of the laws. The Attorney General has certified that this case is of general public importance.

 1.21 Defendant the State of Washington is one of the fifty United States of America.

 1.22 Defendant Dixy Lee Ray is Governor of the State of Washington.

 1.23 Defendants John Bagnariol and Duane L. Berentson are the principal officers of the Washington State House of Representatives. Defendant John A. Cherberg is the principal officer of the Washington State Senate.

 1.25 Defendant Frank B. Brouillet is Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

 1.26 Defendants H. Eugene Hall, Levy S. Johnston, Jack L. Reid, Edward Diamond, Mark E. Hoehne, Roger H. Lincoln, Walter H. Lewis, James M. Spalding, Ollie Mae Wilson, Orville Barnes, Grant L. Anderson, Eileen B. Kalles, Philip B. Swain, and Robert B. Stookey are all of the members of the Washington State Board of Education.

 1.27 Defendant Norman K. Maleng, Prosecuting Attorney of King County, Washington has been dismissed from these proceedings.

 1.28 Intervenor defendant Citizens for Voluntary Integration Committee (CiVIC) is a Washington nonprofit corporation which was a drafter, sponsor, organizer, and campaigner for Initiative Measure No. 350, the subject matter of this lawsuit.

 1.29 CiVIC was formed on or about December 28, 1977 with the stated purposes of opposing mandatory school assignments based on racial or ethnic identification, proposing affirmative programs of voluntary integration, and promoting quality education on an equal basis for all. A copy of the CiVIC Articles of Incorporation was filed with the Secretary of State of the State of Washington on or about January 16, 1978.

 1.30 Intervenor defendants Peter and Sandra King, Dahley, Bates, Liddell and George and Sally King are parents of the children, identified in the caption, who attend school in Seattle.

 2. Tender to State; Rejection

 2.1 On November 28, 1978, original plaintiff individuals and taxpayers formally tendered this action to the Attorney General of the State of Washington demanding that he promptly initiate and competently prosecute proper legal action to have Initiative 350 declared unconstitutional. The Attorney General declined plaintiffs' request to institute this action in his letter of December 19, 1978.

 3. General Facts and Historical Context; Segregation of Plaintiff School Districts; Failure of "Voluntary" Desegregation

 3.1 An educational system in which minority students are relatively segregated from white students provides an unequal and poorer education than a system in which the schools are racially balanced.

 3.2 The three plaintiff school districts have had, and in some instances continue to have, racially imbalanced schools. The term "racial imbalance" in a school is used to mean a disproportionately high minority enrollment in a particular school in relation to districtwide minority student population. The term "segregation" is used to mean, where indicated, racial separation in housing patterns.

 3.3 In each of the plaintiff school districts, there are residential areas in which minority races are predominant.

 3.4 The preponderance of minority families live in the central and the southeast quarter areas of the City of Seattle. Those Seattle schools which are most crowded are located in those areas of the city where the preponderance of minority families live.

 3.5 Residential segregation in Seattle and the proportion of minorities in the school system are such that elimination of racial imbalance in the public schools cannot be accomplished through "voluntary" desegregation strategies consistent with Initiative 350.

 3.6 The segregation of housing by races in Seattle cannot be expected to change sufficiently to permit the racial balancing of public schools to be accomplished within the reasonably foreseeable future unless some students are assigned to schools other than their nearest or next nearest schools.

 3.7 It is difficult to gauge the degree to which "racial bias" influences opinions about "busing." Nevertheless, racial bias or racial motivation is a factor in the opposition to the "busing" of students to attain racial balance.

 3.9 The closure of schools is not a practicable tool for racial balancing because there is such great and emotional opposition to the closure of schools.

 3.10 The measures taken by the Seattle and Tacoma School District plaintiffs to balance their schools racially have met with both public opposition and public support. In the Seattle School District, the opposition has included several lawsuits and an unsuccessful recall election directed at school board members who in 1971 voted to implement a middle school desegregation program which included mandatory student assignments to non-"neighborhood" schools. The mandatory assignment feature of the middle school program was the most controversial part of the program and was the primary reason for the recall attempts.

 3.11 On October 19, 1978, defendant State Board of Education adopted a policy statement, applicable to the State's common schools, condemning racial segregation in schools and urging the elimination of segregation from the State's public schools. On that same day, the State Board adopted a definition of racial isolation which was the same as that adopted by the Seattle School Board by its Resolution 1977-8.

 3.12 At the commencement of the 1978-79 school year, there were 769,040 students enrolled in the public schools of this State. At time of trial approximately 300,000 students were being transported by bus to public schools in the State. Ninety-five percent of those students were being transported for reasons unrelated to school district attempts to reduce or eliminate racial imbalance in the schools.

 4. Historical Background as to Pasco

 4. 1 In 1943 the Energy and Research Development Administration, at that time known as the Manhattan Project, selected the Hanford site for the production of plutonium for the atomic bomb. The Pasco population in 1943 was predominantly white. Substantial numbers of blacks began to arrive in the Tri Cities to work on the Manhattan Project at Hanford. At that time Richland was a federal government-owned town and under rigid federal housing regulations which excluded blacks. Blacks were unable to find housing in Richland, Kennewick or certain areas of Pasco. The availability of homes for blacks was greater in east Pasco. Blacks and other minorities began to move into the east Pasco area, east of the railroad tracks.

 4.2 With the phasing out of the Manhattan Project and the scaling down of the activities of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, many individuals stayed and sought whatever work was available. Black population in east Pasco continued to increase, and there began a trend of migration of whites to the west Pasco area. New schools in the Pasco School District ("Pasco") followed these population shifts. One original school, Whittier Elementary School, was left in east Pasco. The residential segregation in Pasco resulted in a racially imbalanced public school system.

 4.3 In the spring of 1965 the Pasco School Board elected to close predominantly black Whittier Elementary School. The Board voluntarily adopted a systematic plan for equalizing pupil distribution by race throughout the Pasco School System. A pupil transportation scheme was developed to facilitate this, and attendance boundaries were changed. Only minority children have been bused in order to implement the Pasco plan. No white students have been transported to achieve racial balance.

 4.4 East Pasco is between 92 and 97 percent minority.

 4.5 The Pasco District has seven elementary schools. Three would be predominantly white and three predominantly minority if students attended the school nearest to their homes. Current minority percentages in the elementary schools are as follows:

 5. Historical Background as to Tacoma

 5.1 For over a decade the Tacoma School District has allowed students to attend schools other than those geographically closest to their homes for the purpose of preserving an appropriate racial balance in its schools. Through a program of both mandatory actions (school closures and racially controlled enrollment at magnet schools) and voluntary alternatives for students and parents (optional enrollment, busing, and counseling), the Tacoma School District has been able to lessen the racial imbalance in its schools. The Tacoma School District's definition of a racially imbalanced school is one that has a combined minority enrollment of 50 percent or more or a single minority of 40 percent or more. All student enrollment in the Tacoma School District is subject to the district's policy of maintaining a racially balanced school district.

 5.2 In the early 1960's, Tacoma School District personnel and community leaders realized that housing patterns and other factors had led to relatively high concentrations of racial minorities at certain of the district's schools.

 5.3 In July 1966, the Tacoma School Board adopted a voluntary optional enrollment policy for students attending McCarver Junior High School, a central area facility experiencing minority enrollment exceeding 50 percent of the school population. Students who resided in the attendance area for McCarver Junior High School were given the option to attend other junior high schools in the district. In addition, students at other junior high schools were given an opportunity to attend McCarver Junior High School, provided that such attendance would reduce the racial imbalance existing at McCarver. The Tacoma School District provided special bus transportation for students participating in this optional enrollment program.

 5.4 In June 1967 the voluntary optional enrollment program was expanded to include these central area elementary schools: McCarver, Stanley, Central and Bryant Elementary Schools. Students residing in the attendance areas for those schools were given the option to attend any elementary school in the Tacoma School District. In addition, optional enrollment opportunities were extended to students attending elementary schools outside the central area to attend the central area elementary schools if transfer into the schools would tend to reduce racial imbalance.

 5.5 In October 1967 minority enrollment at McCarver Elementary, Stanley, and McCarver Junior High Schools was in excess of 50 percent of the total student population of those schools.

 5.6 In April 1968 the Tacoma School Board adopted major changes designed to ease the perceived racial imbalance in Tacoma schools. The changes included:

 
a. Closure of McCarver Junior High School as a junior high school, and transfer of all junior high school students attending McCarver to junior high schools throughout the district;
 
b. Establishment of an exemplary elementary school ("magnet school") at the McCarver Junior High School facility, with admission open to students throughout the district by voluntary application only, and with student attendance controlled by the district to preserve an appropriate racial balance;
 
c. Closure of Central Elementary School;
 
d. Transfer of all sixth graders at Stanley Elementary School to other elementary schools throughout the district;
 
e. Reaffirmation of the district's position that no high school in the Tacoma School District would be allowed ...

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