End of Court Supervision Delayed in Dallas

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A federal judge in Dallas watered down a previous decision on racial quotas for public school teachers last week, but he suggested that the 26-year-old desegregation case would not end this year as school officials had hoped.

U.S. District Judge Barefoot Sanders, in a ruling June 18, scolded the 155,000-student district for disobeying a 1994 order that each school's staff mirror the racial makeup of the district's overall faculty, plus or minus 15 percent. Judge Sanders said in July 1994 that if the district tried to achieve the racial quotas, he would close the desegregation case in three years.

The district's faculty is about 50 percent white, 37 percent black, and 8 percent Hispanic. Many schools never approached those proportions, the judge said last week, because the district has been loath to transfer teachers to schools farther from their homes.

But considering the school board's unanimous decision May 30 to strive for schools with no more than 75 percent and no less than 25 percent minority teachers--using involuntary transfers if necessary--Judge Sanders said the 1994 requirement was no longer necessary. The judge said that he will demand proof in October and early next year of the new plan's implementation, and that the extent of the district's "good-faith efforts" would determine when he will dismiss the case.

District and teachers' union officials cheered the ruling because only about 50 teachers will have to be involuntarily transferred.


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