The opinion of the court was delivered by: WRIGHT
This action in intervention against the District of Columbia Board of Education brought by 13 parents of students or prospective students in the District of Columbia school system who reside in an area of far Southwest Washington, D.C., seeks further implementation and compliance with the decree of this court in Hobson v. Hansen, D.D.C., 269 F. Supp. 401 (1967), affirmed, sub nom. Smuck v. Hobson, 132 U.S. App. D.C. 372, 408 F.2d 175 (1969). A new elementary school has recently been completed in far Southwest Washington, where formerly a single school served the entire community, and plaintiffs in intervention allege a constitutional infirmity in the decision of the Board determining which children will attend the new school and which will have to continue at the old.
Plaintiffs in intervention filed this suit in July 1970 after the Acting Superintendent of Schools had recommended and the Board had approved a boundary line plan whereby the area formerly served by 25-year-old W.B. Patterson Elementary School was to be divided into two school districts. Under this plan, students residing north of Elmira Street, S.W., and third-through-sixth-grade students residing at the Bellevue Naval Station, are currently attending the newly completed Madeline Leckie Elementary School; students residing on and south of Elmira Street, and third-through-sixth-grade students residing at Bolling Air Force Base, are attending Patterson. Plaintiffs in intervention seek to enjoin the school system from dividing the elementary school attendance area by Elmira Street on the ground that this boundary line creates a racial and socio-economic imbalance as between Leckie, Patterson, and Congress Heights Annex School on Bolling Air Force Base where all military family first and second graders from both Bolling and Bellevue still remain.
On August 28, 1970, before the new school was opened, this court heard argument and testimony on both plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction against implementation of the boundary line plan and defendants' motion for summary judgment. In addition, at the suggestion of and accompanied by counsel, the court surveyed Leckie, Patterson and Congress Heights Annex, as well as the neighborhoods on both sides of Elmira Street, in an effort to determine visually whether there was significant economic disparity between the Leckie and Patterson attendance areas, as set under the Board's boundary line plan. As to racial disparity, the evidence submitted at the August 28 hearing consisted of widely varying predictions from both sides as to what the racial population of the two schools would be when and if the Board's boundary plan was put in operation. To avoid making a judgment based on speculation as to this crucial aspect of the case, the court decided to wait until such time as students were actually in attendance at Leckie and Patterson under the boundary line plan, when an accurate measurement of racial integration could be made. On September 28, 1970, the Board submitted current information regarding pupil enrollment, with a racial breakdown, at Leckie, Patterson and Congress Heights Annex, pursuant to this court's order of August 31, 1970. On October 19, 1970, both sides filed proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, putting the issues concerning racial and economic integration at the schools in question squarely before this court for disposition.
Before proceeding further, the court will briefly review the relevant teachings of its 1967 Hobson opinion, in order to provide the necessary background for consideration of the specific facts and issues in this related action. The original litigation in this case, brought in behalf of Negro as well as poor children generally in the District's public schools, tested the compliance of the Board with the principles announced in Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497, 74 S. Ct. 693, 98 L. Ed. 884, (1954), Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S. Ct. 686, 98 L. Ed. 873 (1954), and their progeny. The basic question presented was whether the District school system was operated in such a way as to deprive black and poor public school children of their right to equal educational opportunity with white and more affluent public school children. This court concluded that it was, and in support of this conclusion it made two findings of fact which bear directly on the present action: that
"[racially] and socially homogeneous schools damage the minds and spirit of all children who attend them -- the Negro, the white, the poor and the affluent -- and block the attainment of the broader goals of democratic education, whether the segregation occurs by law or by fact,"
"[the] scholastic achievement of the disadvantaged child, Negro and white, is strongly related to the racial and socio-economic composition of the student body of his school. A racially and socially integrated school environment increases the scholastic achievement of the disadvantaged child of whatever race."
269 F. Supp. at 406. With specific reference to remedies, the court had this to say:
"In preparing the plan to alleviate pupil segregation which the court is ordering the defendants to file, however, the court will require that the defendants consider the advisability of establishing educational parks, particularly at the junior and senior high school levels, school pairing, ...