Baton Rouge Discards Federal 'Voluntary' Busing Plan

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School officials in East Baton Rouge Parish, La., have rejected the Justice Department's plan to end court-ordered busing in that district.

Last December, the department asked U.S. District Judge John V. Parker to scrap a mandatory student-desegregation plan that he had ordered two years ago and to replace it with a voluntary student-transfer plan.

In submitting the alternative, the department asked the judge not to approve it unless "there is a demon-strated commitment on the part of the school board to make it work."

On Feb. 10, school-board officials rejected the department's plan, apparently because of its high start-up costs and because their recent examination of it indicated that student busing would actually increase in the district over the first five years that the plan is in effect.

Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick Jr. heard arguments last week both for and against his adoption of a plan to end a 20-year-old school-desegregation battle in San Francisco.

According to school-district spokesmen, approximately 30 parents, teachers, and Hispanic-rights advocates criticized the consent decree reached by the school district and the naacp, which would ensure that no school in the 60,000-student district has an enrollment more than 45-percent of a single race. Currently, 19 of the city's 100 schools do not meet that standard.

Judge Orrick is scheduled to issue his final ruling on the agreement on March 14.--tm

Vol. 02, Issue 22

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