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UNITED STATES v. YONKERS BD. OF EDUC.

May 13, 1986

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff and YONKERS BRANCH, NAACP, et al., Plaintiffs-Intervenors,
v.
YONKERS BOARD OF EDUCATION, CITY OF YONKERS and YONKERS COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AGENCY, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAND

[EDITOR'S NOTE: THE ORIGINAL SLIP OPINION CONTAINED ILLEGIBLE WORDS AND/OR MISSING TEXT. THE LEXIS SERVICE WILL PLACE THE CORRECTED VERSION ON-LINE UPON RECEIPT.]

 ORDER FOR DESEGREGATION OF THE YONKERS PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM

 INTRODUCTION

 On November 20, 1985, this Court held that actions taken by the City of Yonkers and the Board of Education, with respect to housing and public schools, were in whole or in part intentionally segregative. United States v. Yonkers Board of Education, 624 F. Supp. 1276 (S.D.N.Y.). On December 18, 1985 the Court established a schedule for the action's remedy phase. The Yonkers Board of Education and the City of Yonkers were directed to submit remedy proposals on or before February 17, 1986.

 On February 17, 1986, the Yonkers Board of Education submitted to the Court and the parties its proposed remedial plan, entitled "Educational Improvement Plan for the Yonkers Public School System". The United States and Plaintiffs-Intervenors (hereinafter "the NAACP" filed their responses to the Board's remedial proposal by March 12, 1986. On April 2, 1986 the Board filed modifications to its original remedial proposal, entitled "Modifications to the Educational Improvement Plan submitted on February 17, 1986" to which the United States and the NAACP filed responses by April 7, 1986.

 The Court conducted a hearing from April 8, 1986 through April 15, 1986 receiving testimony and documentary evidence to assist it in fashioning an appropriate remedy for the unlawful condition of segregation found to exist in the Yonkers Public Schools.

 On April 22, 1986, this Court issued its opinion and Proposed Remedial Order. On May 7, 1986, the Board submitted its Response and Objections to the Court's Proposed Remedial Order. Following consultation with all the parties the Court hereby sets forth its order for the desegregation of the Yonkers Public School System.

 A. IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES

 The implementation strategies which form the foundation for the Yonkers public schools Educational Improvement Plan shall include:

 1. School Closings

 The district shall close the following schools effective September, 1986:

 
School # 6
 
School # 10 # 10
 
School # 11
 
School # 32
 
School # 34
 
Fermi Middle School
 
Hawthorne Middle School
 
Yonkers High School

 2. Elementary Schools

 The district shall operate the following elementary schools effective September, 1986:

 
School # 5
 
School # 8
 
School # 9
 
School # 13
 
School # 14
 
School # 16
 
School # 17
 
School # 19
 
School # 21
 
School # 22
 
School # 23
 
School # 26
 
School # 28
 
School # 29
 
School # 30
 
Enrico Fermi

 The attendance zones for these schools shall be those areas set forth in Appendix A. During the 1986-87 school year, the Board shall develop and begin to implement attendance area magnet programs designated for School 19 and Enrico Fermi, to open September 1987.

 3. Dedicated Magnet Schools

 The district shall operate dedicated magnet schools to reduce racial/ethnic isolation by attracting students to programs that emphasize areas of special interest. Students will be recruited to leave their regular attendance zone school to enroll in schools that have no specific attendance zone. The district shall operate the following district-wide dedicated magnet schools effective September, 1986:

 
School # 10 - Early Childhood Center (Pre-K)
 
PEARLS - Gifted and Talented (Pre K-6)
 
Hudson River Museum Junior High School - Science, Social Studies and Creative Arts, Gifted and Talented (7-9)
 
Saunders Trades, Technical, Business and Computer High School (and Academic Magnet Component)

 Until the new Hudson River Junior High School is completed the 7-9 Gifted and Talented magnet program currently housed in Emerson and Mark Twain will be moved to Hawthorne. In addition, the 4-6 Gifted and Talented component of the PEARLS program planned for September, 1986 will also be housed in Hawthorne. Upon opening of the Hudson River Junior High School Hawthorne shall house the PEARLS program Pre K-6. Until the new Hudson River Junior High School is completed, the Pre K-3 component of the PEARLS program will be housed in School # 32.

 Admission criteria for dedicated magnet schools, as well as for other magnet and specialized programs, will be submitted to a court appointed Monitor by June 1, 1986 for the magnet schools and programs to be implemented in September 1986 and by January 15, 1987 for the magnet schools and programs to be implemented in September 1987. Any party may offer its comments on such criteria to the Monitor. This procedure will be followed whenever a new program is slated to commence in the ensuing school term. All magnet students will take the required subjects and course work necessary for promotion and graduation, and all high school magnet students will have the opportunity to meet college entrance requirements. By June 15, 1986 the Board shall provide the Monitor and the parties with a description of the academic magnet program to be offered at Saunders.

 4. Attendance Area Magnet Schools

 The district shall operate the following attendance area magnet schools effective September, 1986:

 
School # 18 - Scholastic Academy for Traditional Education (K-6)
 
School # 25 - Science, Social Studies, Physical Development, Creative Arts, Extended Day (K-6)
 
School # 27 - Montessori, Humanities and Creative Arts, Extended Day (K-6)
 
Martin Luther King - High Technology Computer Assisted Instruction, Extended Day (K-6)
 
Burroughs Junior High School - Career Development and Pre-Vocational (7-9)
 
Emerson Junior High School - Performing and Visual Arts, Multilingual Education (7-9)
 
Mark Twain Junior High School - Physical Development (7-9)
 
Gorton Senior High School - Pre-Professional Magnet Program (10-12)
 
Lincoln Senior High School - Performing Arts Magnet Program (10-12)
 
Roosevelt Senior High School - Communication Arts Magnet Program (10-12)

 Effective September 1987, the following additional attendance area magnet schools will be opened:

 
School # 19 - Multilanguage Options - Global Perspective (K-6)
 
Enrico Fermi - Computer Assisted Instruction and Performing Arts (K-6)

 The attendance zones for all of the attendance area magnet schools are set forth in Appendix A.

 For the first year of this Order the attendance area elementary magnet school will be integrated by admission policy which will afford and opportunity for enrollment to all students in the district to the maximum extent consistent with the integrative goals of the Order. In implementing this policy the Board may impose such limitations as shall be appropriate to achieve its objectives.

 At the secondary level attendance area students and interested magnet students from throughout the district will be selected by application controlling for racial and ethnic balance.

 5. Voluntary Student Transfers - VST

 The district shall direct a Voluntary Student Transfer program permitting minority students who attend predominantly minority schools to transfer to non-minority schools. Conversely, white students attending predominantly white schools may transfer to predominantly minority schools of their choice for the same reason. The purpose of such transfers is to enhance the racial/ethnic balance of the receiving school. Such transfers will not be permitted, however, if they would adversely impact on the racial composition of either the receiving or the sending school.

 To encourage Voluntary Student Transfers, enrichment and supplemental programs will be established in those schools where sufficient seating capacity has been identified.

 B. SCHOOL DISTRICT ORGANIZATION

 
The district shall establish a K-6, 7-9, 10-12 grade pattern organization as follows:
 
CIS = Compensatory Infusion Services
 
CAI = Computer Assisted Instruction
 
VST = Voluntary Student Transfer

  PROPOSED ORDER -- SCHOOL DISTRICT REORGANIZATION School Current Organization Proposed Organization # 5 K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Neighborhood VST School # 6 K-6 Neighborhood School CLOSED # 8 K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Neighborhood VST School # 9 K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Neighborhood School # 10 K-6 Neighborhood School Early Childhood Center # 13 K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Neighborhood School # 14 K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Neighborhood VST School # 16 K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Neighborhood School # 17 K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Neighborhood School # 18 K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Attendance Area Magnet # 19 K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Attend. Area Magnet (New Sch) # 21 K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Neighborhood VST School # 22 K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Neighborhood School # 23 K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Neighborhood School # 24 Warehouse Warehouse # 25 K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Attendance Area Magnet # 26 K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Neighborhood VST School # 27 K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Attendance Area Magnet # 28 K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Neighborhood VST School # 29 K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Neighborhood VST School # 30 K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Neighborhood VST School # 31 PEARLS PreK-2 Magnet School Continuing Education Center # 32 K-8 Neighborhood School PEARLS PreK-3 (Temporary) # 34 K-6 Neighborhood School Jr. H.S. Perf. Arts Magnet Prog. King K-6 Neighborhood School K-6 Attendance Area Magnet Emerson 7-8 Neighborhood School 7-9 Jr. H.S. (Magnet Program) Fermi 7-8 Neighborhood School K-6 Attendance Area Magnet Hawth. 7-8 Neighborhood School 4-6 PEARLS and 7-9 Jr. H.S. Twain 7-8 Neighborhood School 7-9 Junior High School Whitman CLOSED Teach. Train.Ctr/Adm. Complex Burroughs - 7-9 Jr. H.S. Magnet Hd.Rv.Mu. - 7-9 Gift/Tal. Magnet (New Sch) Gotton 9-12 Neighborhood School 10-12 Senior Attend. Area H.S. Linc. 9-12 Neighborhood School 10-12 Senior Attend. Area H.S. Roos. 9-12 Neighborhood School 10-12 Senior Attend. Area H.S. Saunders 10-12 Magnet School 10-12 Sr. H.S. Dedicated Magnet Yonkers 9-12 Neighborhood School CLOSED: Saunders Moved In School Program Description * # 5 Writing to Read; Kindermath # 6 - # 8 Project Zoo # 9 - # 10 Early Childhood Center (PreK) # 13 Writing to Read # 14 Project Zoo # 16 - # 17 Writing to Read; Kindermath # 18 Scholastic Academy for Traditional Ed; CIS # 19 Multilanguage- Global Persp; Write to Read; CIS # 21 Foreign Language; Multicultural Ed. (FLAME) # 22 Foreign Language; Multicultural Ed. (FLAME) # 23 Kindermath; Every Child a Winner # 24 - # 25 Sci; Soc.S.; Ph Dev.; Creat.Arts; Ext. Day # 26 Project Ecology # 27 Montessori; Humanities; Creat. Arts; Ext Day; CIS # 28 Writing to Read; Kindermath # 29 Project Ecology # 30 Foreign Language; Multicultural Ed. (FLAME) # 31 PEARLS Continuing Education Center # 32 PreK-3 Gifted/Talented (PEARLS) # 34 Jr. H.S. Performing Arts Magnet Program King High Tech; CAI; Ext. Day; Write to Read; CIS Emerson Performing/Visual Arts; Multilangual Ed. Fermi CAI: Perf. Art; CIS; Every Child a Winner Hawth. Gifted and Talented (Grade 4-9) Twain Physical Development Program Whitman Teacher Train. Ctr/Adm. Complex *** Burroughs Career Development; Pre-Vocational Hd.Rv.Mu. Science; Soc St; Creat.Art; Gift/Tal. Gorton Pre-Professional Magnet Program Linc. Performing Arts Magnet Program Roos. Communication Arts Magnet Program Saunders Trades; Tech; Bus/Comp; Magnet School ** Yonkers - * All neighborhood schools will also have a common core of enrichment programs. The programs described here are above and beyond the common core. ** And a strong academic Magnet component the precise nature of which shall be recommended by the district and which may be commenced on a grade-a-year basis. *** Subject to the Court's final decision regarding Whitman following completion of the housing portion of the remedy hearings and without prejudice to that decision.

 C. INTEGRATION GOALS AND TIMETABLE

 
The District shall seek to achieve the following levels of desegregation as measured by the percentage of students attending desegregated schools at the respective grade pattern organizational levels:

  Start of % of Elementary % of Junior % of Senior School Year Students High Students High Students 1986 - 1987 50% 100% 100% 1987 - * 100% 100% 100%

 
For purposes of this Order and at the present time, a desegregated school shall be defined as within plus or minus 20 percentage points of the districtwide average of minority students, (the relevant minority population is comprised of Black and Hispanic students), for that grade pattern organization level; if the school is a dedicated magnet or an attendance area magnet, however, it is desegregated if its minority enrollment is within plus or minus 15 percentage points of the districtwide average of minority students at that grade pattern organization level during the first year of operation and plus or minus 10 percentage points of the districtwide average for that grade pattern organization level in the second year of operation.
 
* In the Spring of 1987, the Court will evaluate the progress made by the Board in the implementation of the voluntary aspects of this order for the purpose of establishing an appropriate timetable for the achievement of such goals. The Board shall report to the Court March 16, 1987 the extent to which its plan has succeeded in achieving these goals through voluntary transfers. Should sufficient majority race students not voluntarily transfer from identifiably white schools and/or sufficient minority students not transfer to identifiably white schools, the Board shall propose its plan for accomplishing the desegregation of all its schools. The parties shall submit their comments to this proposal two weeks thereafter and, if necessary, the Court shall schedule an evidentiary hearing before ordering into effect a proposal to fully integrate Yonkers elementary schools through such techniques as enrollment caps, the redrawing of elementary school attendance lines, and other measures. To permit possible utilization of redrawn elementary school attendance lines, the Board shall submit to the Court and the parties, no later than January 5, 1987, its proposal for such lines drawn consistently with the criteria set forth in the Court's Opinion and Proposed Order of April 22, 1986. The extent to which any redrawn elementary school attendance lines would be effective for September 1987 would depend upon the progress made by the Board in implementing the voluntary aspects of this Order. Depending upon the degree of that progress, the Court may order implementation of the redrawn attendance lines in whole, in part or not at all.
 
Those schools which do not meet the district's integration goals and which remain predominantly minority during the transition period shall provide supplemental educational services.

 D. STUDENT ASSIGNMENT

 1. Recruitment

 
In order to maximize the extent to which the integrative goals of this order will be reached through voluntary student assignments, the administration of the Yonkers public school system will establish an intense recruitment phase which will include the following activities:
 
. dissemination of brochures and fliers describing the new program options throughout the city
 
. direct mailing of program options and descriptions to all parents
 
. newspaper, billboard and radio and cable television announcements of available magnet programs
 
. publication of all recruitment material in Spanish and Arabic
 
. school based recruitment meetings conducted by building administrators and central office staff
 
. telephone recruitment centers, English and Bilingual, through which parents will be called directly to explain magnet programs
 
. telephone hotline to respond to inquiries
 
. acceptance of initial registration by telephone as appropriate
 
. community meetings with minority groups and organizations to solicit support and assistance in the dissemination of magnet program availability
  
. door to door canvass by district personnel to explain magnet program availability
  
. magnet fair in which students and their parents will be transported to central display centers with movies, slides and material available for briefing

  2. Selection

  
A fundamental aspect of the implementation procedures in the Remedy proposal will be the requirement that all parents must select the schools which their children will attend for September 1986 even if it is the attendance area school. Parents must indicate their first three choices for 1986-87. For the first year, no student will be admitted into any school, magnet school, or attendance area school without the parent having indicated that selection as one of the three choices. The Board shall make every effort to assign each student to the optimum choice school listed on his or her choice form.
  
For 1987-88, the parent or guardian of each student in the district will again be required (as early in the school year as is deemed feasible but no later than March 1, 1987) to submit to the Board in writing a school choice form listing three choices for his or her child. For the 1987-88 school term, at least one of the child's choices must be a school where that child's attendance will further the goals of desegregation as defined in this order. Again, the Board shall make every effort to assign each student to the optimum choice school listed on his or her form. The same procedure will be followed in subsequent years for students living in the district but attending public school for the first time, students born in the district who are beginning school, students transferring into the district, and students moving from one grade organizational level to the next (e.g., from junior high to high school).
  
This procedure will begin immediately after the issuance of this Order. In subsequent years, as much planning lead time shall be provided as is possible. The objective of requiring three options is to force a choice and thereby inform parents of the availability of magnet program options and encourage their selection. All applications will be logged and numbered and a receipt given for each application. Only one application per child will be accepted. The procedure would be initiated immediately after issuance of the Order and certainly before the end of the 1985-86 school year. In subsequent years, it would be initiated early in the school year to provide as much planning lead time as possible for the district and for parents. In addition to selection forms and program descriptions which will be mailed to all parents in the district, building principals, counselors and teachers will be required to meet with parents and review the options available to them.

  (a) Admission Criteria

  
After the initial selection phase has been completed, the district shall use the following process for admission into the magnet schools provided it does not prevent the district from achieving its goal for desegregation:
  
For those magnet schools or programs in which the requests of qualified students do not exceed stated capacity, those students will be immediately notified and admitted.
  
For those magnet schools or programs in which the requests of qualified students are greater than stated capacity, first priority will be given to those students already enrolled. Then, a random selection will be conducted on the basis of desired integrative goals. Such random selection will be conducted publicly with observers.
  
For those students whose first choice of a magnet school is not granted, the parents will be individually contacted to reaffirm the desirability of the second or third choice. Every effort shall be made at this stage to encourage the parents to accept the second or third choice of a magnet school. For those students who are placed on a waiting list at the request of the parents because of the unavailability of space, a requirement will be established that they must reapply during the next recruitment phase but will be given preference provided that the granting of such preference will not adversely impact the racial/ethnic balance of the school.
  
If admission criteria are met, every preference shall be given to the siblings of children already enrolled in magnet schools provided that such admission does not adversely impact on the racial/ethnic balance of the magnet school

  (b) Sibling Preference

  
When more applications for vacancies in a school or program are received than there are seats available, all applications will be randomly selected. After random selection, a rank-ordered waiting list, based on the random selection, will be developed. Names of siblings not initially accepted will be placed at the top of the rank-ordered waiting list. If only one twin is accepted the other twin will also be enrolled provided that whatever admission criteria exist, if any, are met.

  (c) Admission to Specialized Programs

  
Gifted and Talented students selected for participation in the district's Gifted and Talented Magnet Programs are those who, by virtue of potential and/or achievement, are capable of high academic performance. Eligibility for the program is determined for each applicant following a careful analysis of standardized test scores, report card information, teacher input (on learning, task commitment, creativity and leadership) and parent input when possible. Entrance examinations will be included at the fourth grade level and above. All available information will be recorded and handled through a weighted matrix traditionally used for the selection of Gifted and Talented students. (Baldwin Matrix). On the basis of the test scores of the students who apply, a cut-off point will be determined and then students shall be admitted on a racial/ethnic balanced basis. It is anticipated that the selection will be geared toward the top five percent over the district cut-off point or points on multi-measures. Student selection shall be made to ensure a balanced racial/ethnic student composition and will be conducted by a committee of at least three administrators, to include at least one of whom would be minority.
  
Enrollment in these programs continues from one grade level to the next provided a student is achieving at the expected rate and level and the parents desire program continuation. A student may be counseled out of the program if progress is poor and/or the program is not in the student's best interest.
  
Citywide High School Career Specialty Magnet Programs will enroll students who have a sincere interest and believe they have the ability to succeed. Prior to submitting an application for such a program, counseling services will be provided so that there is reasonable expectation that the student will meet the success. The student and parent will be provided with information clearly outlining the schools' programs, expectations, and course requirements. If the number of applicants exceeds the available space, students will be selected based upon aptitude for the specific area, teacher recommendation, report card information and attendance patterns. These data will be weighted and ranked to ensure balanced racial/ethnic participation. Student selection will be made by a team of at least three administrators, at least one of whom shall be a minority member.
  
The Performing and Visual Arts Magnets will accept applications from interested students who must also undergo an audition in their specific areas of interest. These areas include Dance, Drama, Vocal and Instrumental Music. Selection will be made on the basis of specific criteria for each performing arts area. Student selection will be made to ensure racial/ethnic balance and selection will be made by a group of at least three performing arts teachers, at least one of whom shall be minority member.
  
Students applying for Fine Arts and Graphic Arts programs must submit a portfolio of work for review. Selection will be made on the basis of specific criteria for the Visual Arts. Student selection will be made to ensure a racial/ethnic balance and selection will be made by a group of at least three Visual Arts teachers, at least one of whom shall be a minority member.

  (d) Notification of Status

  
Parents or guardians will be notified by mail indicating whether their children have been accepted, or placed on a waiting list for magnet schools or programs. Parents will be asked to confirm their intention to enroll their children in the program into which they have been accepted by mailing back within a stated return period, a confirmation letter which will have been enclosed in their letter of notification.

  3. Appeal Procedure

  
Parents who wish to question admission procedures or appeal the decision of the selection committee will be required to put appeal in writing. The parent first will be invited to discuss the concern with a magnet counselor. If, after the counselor interview, the parent desires to continue the appeal, a Placement Review Committee will review all material and make a final determination of magnet placement. The decisions must not adversely affect the integrative objectives of this Order. If a student cannot be accepted immediately after review, an otherwise qualified student will be placed on a priority waiting list. The Placement Review Committee will be composed of at least three Central Office administrators to be determined by the Superintendent of Schools and will include minority participation.

  E. STAFF ASSIGNMENT

  
The district shall make every effort to ensure that by September, 1986, the racial composition of teachers at each school within approximately plus or minus five percentage points of the district wide average for minority teachers, as a result of reassignments in connection with school closings and conversions and the reassignment of teachers to magnet schools and magnet programs. Thereafter, the district shall attempt to maintain the racial distribution of teachers on a reasonably uniform basis, while respecting the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement between the district and the Yonkers Federation of Teachers.
  
If the Board cannot achieve this goal while adhering to the collective bargaining agreement, the parties may make applications to the Court for the requisite modifications.
  
With respect to the staffing of magnet programs and magnet schools, the district and the Yonkers Federation of Teachers have agreed to establish a process for selection which ...

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