A Microsoft Word version of this letter is available for download and PRINTING.
September 30, 2010
TO THE ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED:
SUBJECT: Order in Civil Action 5281
The federal court with jurisdiction over the statewide desegregation order (usually called ďCivil Action 5281Ē) has entered an order removing virtually all Texas school districts from the scope of the order. Since 1971, all districts have operated under certain restrictions on accepting student transfers, requirements for property deeds and other reporting requirements. Except for nine districts that remain subject to the order, none of those requirements will continue. We understand the courtís decision to be final at this time.
Following a decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year, the State of Texas filed motions to remove from the order all districts that have been declared unitary in a desegregation case or remain subject to the oversight of another federal court, as well as all districts that have never been made a party to the litigation. The United States Department of Justice agreed with the motion and the court entered the attached order on September 27.
From September 27, 2010, all districts, except the original nine school districts that were party to the case, are no longer subject to the order. Except for those districts1, there is no longer any obligation to report student transfers or submit real property conveyances for approval. The agency will no longer monitor district boundary changes, transportation, extra-curricular activities, or staff and student assignment for purposes of the order. There is no action required of your district in response to the courtís order.
The court retains jurisdiction over nine districts because those districts were consolidated with the original nine segregated districts and thus remain parties to the litigation. This status in no way implies any wrongdoing by those districts. The agency will coordinate with the Texas Attorney Generalís Office and the nine districts to complete their removal from the litigation.
The courtís order is an opportunity to reflect on how far Texas has come in our lifetimes. Judge William Wayne Justiceís original order was necessary and personally courageous. In the forty years since that order, we have come together in one unified public school system to serve all our students. Our system of accountability allows us to closely monitor the progress of all student groups to make sure that all are well served. We have made great progress and we pledge to continue to do our best to serve all Texas children. There is every reason to celebrate both what Judge Justice accomplished and what two generations of Texans have accomplished to educate all of our children since then.
1Buffalo ISD, Colmesneil ISD, Daingerfield ISD, Fairfield ISD, Malakoff ISD, Nacogdoches ISD, Oakwood ISD, Smithville ISD, and Whitewright ISD