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San Jose Ordered to Speed School Desegregation

January 02, 1986|Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge on Tuesday issued a new order to speed up desegregation of San Jose public schools without mandatory busing, and warned that schools will be monitored until they are completely integrated.

Chief U.S. District Judge Robert Peckham described the plan for the 30,000-student, 30% Latino district as voluntary but said that, if it doesn't work, mandatory assignment of students would be required.

His ruling came after 14 years of legal wrangling that began with a lawsuit on behalf of all Latino students, alleging intentional and therefore unconstitutional segregation.

The judge ordered desegregation at a faster pace than proposed by the district, with 60% of the students to be in desegregated schools in the coming school year and 90% three years later. The court will have jurisdiction over the 37 schools until 100% desegregation is achieved, Peckham said.

No Mandatory Reassignment

"The means for movement are primarily voluntary first, as long as people volunteer and the district as a whole reaches a particular quota in a year. There's no mandatory reassignment," said San Jose School Board President Joe Wilson.

The district's own plan would have cost about $32 million during five years, Wilson said, adding that the court's plan may cost about the same.

Action on a court finding that the district had a racially based assignment policy for faculty and staff was delayed until Feb. 20, when a hearing on the issue is scheduled. Peckham said that despite the assignment policy, the district did not illegally discriminate against minorities in hiring.

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