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for desegregation plans set forth elsewhere in this Statement of Policies are also applicable. $ 181.32 Attendance Zones
A single system of non-racial attendance zones must be established. A school system may not use zone boundaries or feeder patterns designed to perpetuate or promote segregation, or to limit desegregation or maintain what is essentially a dual school structure. A school system planning (1) to desegregate certain grades by means of geographic attendance zones and other grades by means of free choice of schools, or (2) to include more than one school of the same level in one or more attendance zones and to offer free choice of all schools within such zones, must show that such an arrangement will most expeditiously eliminate segregation and all other forms of discrimination. In any such case, the procedures followed for the offer, exercise and administration of free choice of schools must conform to the provisions of Subpart D below. 8 181.33 Assignment to School in Zone of Residence
Regardless of any previous attendance at another school, each student must be assigned to the school serving his zone of residence, and may be transferred to another school only in those cases which meet the following requirements:
(a) Transfer for Special Needs. A student who requires a course of study not offered at the school serving his zone, or who is physically handicapped, may be permitted, upon his written application, to transfer to another school which is designed to fit, or offers courses for, his special needs.
(b) Minority Transfer Policy. A school system may (1) permit any student to transfer from a school where students of his race are a majority to any other school, within the system, where students of his race are a minority, or (2) assign students on such basis.
(c) Special Plan Provisions. A student who specifically qualifies to attend another school pursuant to the provisions of a desegregation plan accepted by the Commissioner may be permitted, upon his written application, to transfer to such other school. 8 181.34 Notice
(a) Individual Notice. On a convenient date between March 1 and April 30 in each year, each school system must distribute, by first class mail, a letter to the parent, or other adult person acting as parent, of each student who is then enrolled, except high school seniors expected to graduate, giving the name and location of the school to which the student has been assigned for the coming school year pursuant to the desegregation plan, and information concerning the bus service between his school and his neighborhood. All these letters must be mailed on the same day. Each letter must be accompanied by a notice, in a form prescribed by the Commissioner, explaining the desegregation plan. The same letter and notice must also be furnished, in person or by mail, to the parent of each prospective student, including each student planning to enter the first grade or kindergarten, as soon as the school system learns that he plans to enroll.
(b) Published Notice. The school system must arrange for the conspicuous publication of an announcement, identical with the text of the notice provided for under (a) above, in the newspaper most generally circulated in the community, on or shortly before the date of mailing under (a) above. Publication as a legal notice is not sufficient. Whenever any revision of attendance zones is proposed, the school system must similarly arrange for the conspicuous publication of an announcement at least 30 days before any change is to become effective, naming each school to be affected and describing the proposed new zones. Copies of all material published hereunder must also be given at that time to all television and radio stations serving the community.
[88 181.36 through 181.40 reserved] SUBPART D-ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR VOLUNTARY DESEGREGATION PLANS BASED
ON FREE CHOICE OF SCHOOLS 8 181.41 General
A vountary desegregation plan based in whole or in part on free choice of schools must meet the requirements of this Subpart for all students whose assignment to schools is determined by free choice. The general requirements for desegregation plans set forth elsewhere in this Statement of Policies are also applicable.
$ 181.42 Who May Exercise Choice
A choice of schools may be exercised by a parent or other adult person serving as the student's parent. A student may exercise his own choice if he (1) is exercising a choice for the ninth or a higher grade, or (2) has reached the age of fifteen at the time of the exercise of choice. Such a choice by a student is controlling unless a different choice is exercised for him by his parent, or other adult person acting as his parent, during the period in which the student exercises his choice. Each reference in this Subpart to a student exercising a choice means the exercise of the choice by a parent or such other adult, or by the student himself, as may be appropriate under this provision. $ 181.43 Annual Mandatory Exercise of Choice
Each student must be required to exercise a free choice of schools once annually. A student may not be enrolled or assigned to a school without exercising his choice, except as provided in $ 181.45 below. & 181.44 Choice Period
A period of at least 30 days must be provided for exercising choice, to commence no earlier than January 1 and to end no later than April 30, preceding the school year for which choice is to be exercised. The Commissioner may require an additional period or different dates for a particiular school system. No preference in school assignment may be given on the basis of an early exercise of choice during the choice period. 8 181.45 Failure To Exercise Choice
A failure to exercise a choice within the choice period does not excuse a student from exercising his choice, which may be done at any time before he commences school for the year with respect to which the choice applies. However, any such late choice must be subordinated to the choices of students who exercised choice during the choice period. If by a week after school opens there is any student who has not yet exercised his choice of school, he must be assigned to the school nearest his home where space is available. Standards for determining available space must be applied uniformly throughout the system. 181.46 Letters to Parents, Notices, and Choice Forms
(a) Mailings. On the first day of the choice period, each school system must distribute, by first class mail, a letter, an explanatory notice, and a choice form, to the parent or other adult person acting as parent of each student who is then enrolled, except high school seniors expected to graduate, together with a return envelope addressed to the Superintendent. The texts for the letter, notice, and choice form to be used must be in a form prescribed by the Commissioner.
(b) Extra Copies. Extra copies of the letter, the notice, and the choice form must be freely available to parents, students, prospective students and the general public, at each school in the system and at the office of the Superintendent.
(c) Maps Available to Public. A street or road map showing the boundaries of, and the school serving, each attendance zone must be freely available for public inspection at the office of the Superintendent. Each school in the system must have freely available for public inspection a map showing the boundaries of its attendance area. 8 181.35 Reports
(a) Attendance Zones. The report submitted under $ 181.18(a) by April 15 of each year must be accomplished by a map, which must show the name and location of each school facility planned to be used during the coming school year, the attendance zones for each school in effect during the current school year, and any changes in the attendance zones planned for the coming school year. The map need not be of professional quality. A clipping of each newspaper announcement and any map published under $ 181.34 (b) or (c) above must be sent to the Commissioner within three days after publication and, in the case of proposed revisions, must be accompanied by data showing the estimated change in attendance, by race, color, or national origin and by grade, and in the racial composition of the professional staff, at each school to be affected.
(b) Attendance Outside Zone of Residence. Whenever a student is permitted to attend a school other than that serving his zone of residence, and whenever a request for such attendance is denied, the school system must retain records
showing (1) the school and grade applied for, (2) the zone of the student's residence and his grade therein, (3) the race, color, or national origin of the student, (4) the reason stated for the request, and (5) the reason the request is granted or denied. Whenever the total number of transfers permitted from any school exceeds two percent of the student enrollment at that school, the relevant facts must be reported promptly to the Commissioner.
(c) Content of Choice Form. Unless otherwise authorized or required by the Commissioner, each choice form, as prepared by the school system for distribution, (1) must set forth the name and location of, and the grade offered at, each school, and (2) may inquire of the person exercising the choice only the name, address, and age of the student, the school and grade currently or most recently attended by the student, the school chosen, the signature of one parent or other adult person serving as parent or, where appropriate under & 181.42 above, the signature of the student, and the identity of the person signing. If necessary to provide information required by 181.18 and 181.19 above, or for other reports required by the Commissioner, the choice form may also ask the race, color, or national origin of the student. No statement of reasons for a particular choice, or any other information, or any witness or other authentication, may be required or requested. No other choice form, including any pupil placement law form may be used by the school system in connection with the choice of a school.
(d) Return of Choice Form. At the option of the person completing the choice form, it may be returned by mail or by hand to any school in the school system or to the office of the Superintendent.
(e) Choices Not on Official Form. Exercise of choice may also be made by the submission in like manner of any other writing which sufficiently identifies the student and indicates that he has made a choice of a school. $ 181.47 Prospective Students
Each prospective student, including each student planning to enter the first grade or kindergarten, must be required to exercise a free choice of schools before enrollment. Each such student must be furnished a copy of the prescribed letter, notice, and choice form, by mail or in person, on the date the choice period opens or as soon thereafter as the school system learns that he plans to enroll. Each must be given an opportunity to exercise his choice during the choice period. A prospective student exercising his choice after the choice period must be given at least one week to do so. $ 181.38 Choice May Not Be Changed
Once a choice has been submitted, it may not be changed for the school year to which it applies, whether during the choice period, after the choice period, or during that school year, except on request (1) in cases meeting the conditions set forth in § 181.50 below, (2) in case of a change of residence to a place where another school serving the student's grade level is closer than the school to which he is assigned under these provisions, and (3) in case of a compelling hardship. A student who cannot enter the school of his choice because the grade he is to enter is not offered at that school must be promptly notified as soon as this is known and must be given the same opportunity to choose another school as is provided a prospective student under $ 181.47 above. & 181.49 Assignment According to Choice
No choice may be denied in assigning students to schools for any reason other than overcrowding. In cases where overcrowding would result at one or more schools from the choices made, preference must be given on the basis of the proximity of schools to the homes of students, without regard to race, color, or national origin. No preference may be given to students for prior attendance at a school if such preference would deny other students their free choice of schools under the plan. In cases where this provision would result in unusual difficulty involving, for instance, students not being able to finish their senior year in a particular school, or students being unable to attend school with other members of the same family, or at a school having special courses required by a student, the relevant facts may be brought to the attention of the Commissioner for consideration of alternative procedures. Any student whose choice is denied under these provisions must be notified in writing promptly and given his choice of each school in the system serving his grade level where space is available. Standards for determining overcrowding and available space that are applied
uniformly throughout the system must be used if any choice is to be denied. Each student and his parent, or other adult person acting as parent, must be notified in writing of the name and location of the school to which the student is assigned hereunder promptly upon completion of processing his first or any second choice. A school system may, at its option, give preference to any student whose choice is for a school at which students of his race are a minority. 8 181.50 Transfers for Special Needs
Each student must attend the school to which he is assigned under the foregoing provisions, except that any student who requires a course of study not offered at that school, or who is physically handicapped, may be permitted, upon his written application, to transfer to another school which is designed to fit, or offers courses for, his special needs. 8 181.51 No Limitation of Choice; Transportation
No factor, such as a requirement for health or birth records, academic or phy, sical examinations, the operation of the school transportation system, or any other factor except overcrowding, may limit or affect the assignment of students to schools on the basis of their choices. Where transportation is generally provided, buses must be routed to the maximum extent feasible so as to serve each student choosing any school in the system. In any event, every student choosing either the formerly white or the formerly Negro school (or other school established for students of a particular race, color, or national origin) nearest his residence must be transported to the school to which he is assigned under these provisions, whether or not it is his first choice, if that school is sufficiently distant from his home to make him eligible for transportation under generally applicable transportation rules. $ 181.52 Officials Not To Influence Choice
No official, teacher, or employee of the school system may require or request any student or prospective student to submit a choice form during the choice period other than by the prescribed letter, notice, and choice form. After the choice period, the school system must make all reasonable efforts to obtain a completed choice form from any student who has not exercised a choice. However, at no time may any official, teacher, or employee of the school system, either directly or indirectly, seek to influence any parent, student, or any other person involved, in the exercise of a choice, or favor or penalize any person because of a choice made. Information concerning choices made by individual students or schools to which they are assigned may not be made public. $ 181.53 Public Notice
On or shortly before the date the choice period opens, the school system must arrange for the conspicuous publication of a notice describing the desegregation plan in the newspaper most generally circulated in the community. The text of the notice must be in a form prescribed by the Commissioner. Publication as a legal notice is not sufficient. Copies of this notice must also be given at that time to all radio and television stations serving the community. Any other announcement published by the school system concerning enrollment, such as might be made in connection with scheduling pre-enrollment procedures for prospective first grade students, must (1) state clearly that under the desegregation plan a choice of school is required for each student whose choice has not yet been exercised, (2) describe and state where copies of the prescribed letter, notice and choice form may be freely obtained in person, or by letter or telephone request, and (3) state the period during which the choice may be exercised. $ 181,54 Requirements for Effectiveness of Free Choice Plans
A free choice plan tends to place the burden of desegregation on Negro or other minority group students and their parents. Even when school authorities undertake good faith efforts to assure its fair operation, the very nature of a free choice plan and the effect of longstanding community attitudes often tend to preclude or inhibit the exercise of a truly free choice by or for minority group students.
For these reasons, the Commissioner will scrutinize with special care the operation of voluntary plans of desegregation in school systems which have adopted free choice plans.
In determining whether a free choice plan is operating fairly and effectively, so as to materially further the orderly achievement of desegregation, the Commissioner will take into account such factors as community support for the plan, the efforts of the school system to eliminate the identifiability of schools on the basis of race, color, or national origin by virtue of the composition of staff or other factors, and the progress actually made in eliminating past discrimination and segregation.
The single most substantial indication as to whether a free choice plan is actually working to eliminate the dual school structure is the extent to which Negro or other minority group students have in fact transferred from segregated schools. Thus, when substantial desegregation actually occurs under a free choice plan, there is strong evidence that the plan is operating effectively and fairly, and is currently acceptable as a means of meeting legal requirements. Conversely, where a free choice plan results in little or no actual desegregation, or where, having already produced some degree of desegregation, it does not result in substantial progress, there is reason to believe that the plan is not operating effectively and may not be an appropriate or acceptable method of meeting constitutional and statutory requirements.
As a general matter, for the 1967-68 school year the Commissioner will, in the absence of other evidence to the contrary, assume that a free choice plan is a viable and effective means of completing initial stages of desegregation in school systems in which a substantial percentage of the students have in fact been transferred from segregated schools. Where a small degree of desegregation has been achieved and, on the basis of the free choice registration held in early 1967, it appears that there will not be a substantial increase in desegregation for the 1967-68 school year, the Commissioner will review the working of the plan and will normally require school officials to take additional actions as a prerequisite to continued use of a free choice plan, even as an interim device.
In districts with a sizable percentage of Negro or other minority group students, the Commissioner will, in general, be guided by the following criteria in scheduling free choice plans for review :
(1) If a significant percentage of the students, such as 8 percent or 9 percent, transferred from segregated schools for the 1966–67 school year, total transfers on the order of at least twice that percentage would normally be expected.
(2) If a smaller percentage of the students, such as 4 percent or 5 percent, transferred from segregated schools for the 1966-67 school year, a substantial increase in transfers would normally be expected, such as would bring the total to at least triple the percentage for the 1966-67 school year.
(3) If a lower percentage of students transferred for the 1966–67 school year, then the rate of increase in total transfers for the 1967-68 school year would normally be expected to be proportionately greater than under (2) above.
Where there is substantial deviation from these expectations, and the Commissioner concludes, on the basis of the choices actually made and other available evidence, that the plan is not operating fairly, or is not effective to meet constitutional and statutory requirements, he will require the school system to take additional steps to further desegregation.
Such additional steps may include, for example, reopening of the choice period, additional 'meetings with parents and civic groups, further arrangements with State or local officials to limit opportunities for intimidation, and other further community preparation. Where schools are still identifiable on the basis of staff composition as intended for students of a particular race, color, or national origin, such steps must in any such case include substantial further changes in staffing patterns to eliminate such identifiability.
If the Commissioner concludes that such steps would be ineffective, or if they fail to remedy the defects in the operation of any free choice plan, he may require the school system to adopt a different type of desegregation plan. $ 181.55 Reports
(a) Supporting Materials. Each school system must submit to the Commissioner a copy of the letter, notice, and choice form, all as prepared by the school system for distribution, within three days after their first distribution, and must submit a clipping of all newspaper announcements published in accordance with 8 181.53 above within three days after publication.
(b) Data on Choices Not Being Honored. In any case including the case of conflicting choices under $ 181.42 above, where a student chooses a school where