Denver's Busing Plan Approved by Judge For 1982-83 Only
Denver--"With considerable reservation," U.S. District Judge Richard P. Matsch last week ordered that the Denver school board's revised desegregation plan be put into effect for the 1982-83 school year only.
In reluctantly accepting the board's so-called "consensus plan," Judge Matsch said he was not convinced that the school board's majority has "shown a commitment to the creation of a unitary school system that can deliver educational services" without racial disadvantages.
The "consensus plan" was submitted to Judge Matsch in March, two weeks after he had rejected "as an exercise in escapism" an open-enrollment "Total Access Plan" that would have ended eight years of court-ordered busing for desegregation purposes.
Under the plan approved by the federal judge, an estimated 2,600 fewer Denver pupils will be bused to and from school to achieve desegregation.
As a result, several elementary schools will become "walk-in" neighborhood schools with no pupil busing. But about 11,000 of the city's 60,000 pupils will continue to be transported to achieve racial balance.
In addition, the district's junior high schools, which now serve grades 7 through 9, will become "middle schools" for pupils in grades 7 and 8 only; ninth graders will attend the high schools.
Two of the "magnet schools" proposed by the board in its abortive effort to end all involuntary busing will be included in the plan endorsed by Judge Matsch. One, near the downtown business district, will provide an extended-day program.
The other will be a "fundamental" school, stressing discipline and basic skills.
A panel of educational experts will be appointed by Judge Matsch to monitor Denver's progress in desegregation, replacing a court-appointed monitoring council of citizens.
The latest development in Denver's 13-year-old desegregation lawsuit "is not to be construed as an abdication of this court's authority and responsibility to compel compliance with the desegregation mandate,'' Judge Matsch said.