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Board of Education of Borough of Englewood Cliffs v. Board of Education

Decided: June 15, 1992.

BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE BOROUGH OF ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, BERGEN COUNTY, PETITIONER-CROSS-RESPONDENT/APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF ENGLEWOOD, BERGEN COUNTY, RESPONDENT-CROSS-PETITIONER/CROSS-APPELLANT, V. BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE BOROUGH OF TENAFLY, BERGEN COUNTY, CROSS-RESPONDENT/RESPONDENT, AND A.S., BY HER GUARDIAN AD LITEM, R.S., INTERVENOR/RESPONDENT



On appeal from the New Jersey State Board of Education.

Long, Baime and Thomas. The opinion of the court was delivered by Long, J.A.D.

Long

The opinion of the court was delivered by

LONG, J.A.D.

On this appeal from a decision of the State Board of Education, we are called upon to interpret the term "substantial negative impact" in N.J.S.A. 18A:38-13 (the statute which requires the approval of the Commissioner of Education before a sending-receiving relationship between two school districts may be severed); to revisit the so-called single community doctrine of Jenkins v. Tp. of Morris School District and Bd. of Educ., 58 N.J. 483, 279 A.2d 619 (1971); to explore the power of the State Board to act generally in aid of its jurisdiction, and to assess the State Board's decision to order a regionalization study including some unwilling districts.

We hold that N.J.S.A. 18A:38-13 is not a traditional balancing statute. In assessing an application for severance, the finding of a substantial negative impact on educational quality in one district warrants disapproval of severance, notwithstanding any number of "positive" impacts which severance would bring to the other district. We also hold that under Jenkins, the existence of a "single community" is not a prerequisite to the power of the State Board to bridge school district boundaries where necessary to vindicate the State's policy against segregation. In addition, we confirm the power of the State Board to issue such ancillary orders to school districts in this State as are required to ensure compliance with its policies. Finally, we affirm, as a viable alternative under the facts presented, the State Board's order that a regionalization study take place.

I

Procedurally, the case arose on December 23, 1985, when the Board of Education of Englewood Cliffs (Cliffs) filed a petition with the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of

Education (Commissioner) under N.J.S.A. 18A:38-13, seeking to sever the sending-receiving relationship with the Board of Education of Englewood (Englewood) pursuant to which Cliffs had been sending its high school students to Dwight Morrow High School (DMHS) in Englewood. Englewood opposed the petition and filed a cross-petition seeking to enjoin the Board of Education of Tenafly (Tenafly) from accepting high school students from Cliffs or Englewood. Englewood also asked that the Commissioner regionalize the three municipalities into one district at the high school level. Tenafly sought the dismissal of the cross-petition as to it and Cliffs answered, opposing regionalization. The Commissioner transmitted the matter to the Office of Administrative Law as a contested case pursuant to N.J.S.A. 52:14F-1 to -11. Between January 7, 1987 and October 6, 1987, Administrative Law Judge Kenneth Springer (ALJ) conducted 99 days of hearings.

On April 18, 1988 the ALJ issued an initial decision recommending the denial of Cliffs' petition for severance because of the negative impact which severance would have on the racial balance of DMHS; the denial of an alternative "dual" sending-receiving relationship among Englewood, Cliffs and Tenafly because it offered no real free choice to less affluent Englewood parents; and the denial of Englewood's cross-petition for regionalization or a comprehensive regionalization study because the potential risks of regionalization were greater than the potential rewards. He also recommended that Tenafly be restrained from accepting any students from Cliffs or Englewood not currently enrolled in a Tenafly school. All parties filed exceptions.

On July 11, 1988 the Commissioner issued a decision adopting the ALJ's findings and recommendations. However, he directed that eighth graders from Cliffs, enrolled in Tenafly as of April 18, 1988, be allowed to remain in Tenafly and attend Tenafly High School (THS) should they so desire. In refusing to order regionalization or a comprehensive regionalization study, the Commissioner opined that regionalization is only

available where the districts to be regionalized constitute a single community; where the proofs establish that regionalization would be feasible, reasonable and workable; and where regionalization can be accomplished without any practical upheavals. He concluded that Englewood had failed to meet these criteria. Cliffs and Tenafly appealed to the State Board of Education and Englewood cross-appealed.*fn1

Subsequently, the Legal Committee of the State Board issued a report essentially adopting the findings and Conclusions of the Commissioner, with two important modifications: first, because there was insufficient evidence of the need for regionalization, the Committee recommended that the Commissioner monitor the racial composition of DMHS and report to the State Board periodically with his findings. Second, the Committee recommended that the injunction against accepting Cliffs and Englewood students be extended to all public school boards in the State. Cliffs and Englewood filed exceptions.

On April 4, 1990 the State Board issued a decision which essentially affirmed the findings and Conclusions of the Commissioner with some modifications, including those recommended by the Legal Committee. It also directed Cliffs and Englewood to develop a plan, in consultation with the Commissioner and subject to his approval, to encourage their students to attend DMHS. It ordered the Commissioner to monitor the plan and the racial composition of DMHS for five years and to report to it annually as to the effect of the plan on the racial composition of DMHS. The State Board exempted from its decision all students from Cliffs and Englewood attending THS

or other public high schools as of the date of the initial decision (April 18, 1988).

Cliffs appealed, challenging the State Board's denial of its petition for severance, the denial of a dual sending-receiving relationship and the injunction. Englewood filed a notice of cross-appeal from the State Board's failure to order regionalization. We granted the motions of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Public Advocate for amicus status. Englewood filed an application for direct certification to the New Jersey Supreme Court which was denied.

During the pendency of this appeal, Cliffs and Englewood submitted their plans to encourage enrollment at DMHS to the Commissioner. On June 5, 1991 the Commissioner published his first annual report which suggested certain changes in those plans and recommended that the State Board order a regionalization study because of his doubts as to the effectiveness of remedial measures short of regionalization. On July 3, 1991 the State Board resolved to adopt the Commissioner's recommendations.

On August 5, 1991 Cliffs and Tenafly filed motions for leave to appeal from the State Board's resolution authorizing a regionalization study, claiming that the State Board's resolution violated R. 2:9-1 because of the pendency of the earlier appeal. We granted leave and stayed the resolution pending this review. The appeals were consolidated on September 10, 1991.

II

The record in this case is voluminous. Because the Commissioner and the State Board each essentially adopted the fact-finding of the ALJ, his decision will be set forth at length. We will also detail the recommendations of the ALJ and the decision of the Commissioner, even where they differ from the final decision of the State Board, because that counterpoint serves to clarify the State Board's rulings.

A. The Districts

The Borough of Englewood Cliffs is an affluent suburban community of approximately two square miles. According to the 1980 census, it had a population of 5,698, which was 85.0% white, 9.3% Asian, 3.9% Hispanic, and 0.8% black. Cliffs operates two K-8 schools for its students. Because it has no high school facilities, since 1965 Cliffs has had a sending-receiving relationship with Englewood.

Englewood is a more urban community than Cliffs. Approximately five miles square, it had 23,701 residents according to the 1980 census. Of those residents, 44.6% were white, 40.6% were black, 8.8% were Hispanic and 2.8% were Asian. Englewood operates two elementary schools, one middle school and DMHS.

Tenafly, like Cliffs, is a suburban community. It is approximately four-and-one-half miles square and, according to the 1980 census, had a population of 13,552. Of these, 91.3% were white, 4.5% Asian, 3.0% Hispanic and 0.6% black. Tenafly operates four elementary schools, a middle school and THS.

All three 0 districts are considered "affluent" relative to other communities in the county and state. As among themselves, households in Cliffs and Tenafly have much higher incomes than those in Englewood. While Englewood is a heterogeneous community, Cliffs and Tenafly are primarily white with growing Asian populations. All three districts are contiguous.

In addition to sharing common borders, the other significant community ties among the three districts include: some common cultural and recreational facilities (e.g., attendance by Englewood and Cliffs' residents at summer and adult school programs in Tenafly); a common public library for Englewood and Cliffs; common medical facilities; shared road and public transportation links; and common religious services.

B. The Schools

Both DMHS and THS are four-year secondary schools, i.e., grades 9-12. Beginning in the 1988-1989 school year, Englewood had planned to expand DMHS to include eighth grade students; Cliffs intended to continue sending its eighth graders to its own school.

1. DMHS

The school plant consists of two buildings (built in 1931 and 1967) on a well-landscaped, 34-acre campus shared with Englewood's middle 1 school. The older building features an "exceptionally attractive" Gothic facade; the newer building is more austere. In 1985, a state facility planning team inspected DMHS and reported more than 20 deficiencies, ranging from chained and locked exit doors to "crumbly plaster" in classrooms. Nevertheless, officials did not cite DMHS for any violations, and the ALJ concluded that DMHS "must be deemed in substantial compliance with all applicable building standards." In 1981, Englewood completed a $1.45 million renovation of DMHS and approved a long-term improvement program for the period 1987-1991 at a cost of $2.08 million.

DMHS is a member of the Middle States Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges (Middle States), a voluntary organization which uses an elaborate procedure for accrediting member schools. In 1976, Middle States approved DMHS but offered a list of recommendations for improvements. Although the deadline for re-evaluation was originally to expire in 1986, Middle States granted DMHS three successive one-year post-ponements and, as a result, re-evaluation was not completed by the time of the hearing; nevertheless, DMHS has never lost its accreditation.

The 2 DMHS teaching staff has appropriate certification and adequate training and experience. In 1986-1987, the 94 teaching staff members were 61.0% white, 32.0% black and 6.0% Hispanic or Asian. A survey showed that teacher morale at DMHS was low in several areas: teachers wanted more input

into the decision-making process and improvement of the physical working environment. During the 1980s, administrative instability was a problem at DMHS; three principals were hired between 1980 and 1986. Nevertheless, the qualifications and competence of Richard Segall, the DMHS principal who succeeded to the position in 1986, is unchallenged. With Segall, Englewood mounted a campaign to deal with the problems at DMHS.

At the time of the hearing, the DMHS library totaled approximately 16,000 volumes; however, many of the titles were outdated. The school attempted to increase the effectiveness of its library by extending hours of operation and by increasing (by 300.0%) the amount it spent on printed materials.

DMHS provides a wide range of courses for students of different ability levels and interests, including advanced placement, honors, and enrichment courses. Class size tends to be fewer 3 than 20 students. In 1987, 64.0% of DMHS graduating seniors entered four-year colleges, and of those, almost 50.0% attended colleges rated "very competitive" or above by Barron's Profiles of American Colleges (15th ed. 1986). Between 1986 and 1987 seven DMHS graduates attended Yale University, and a Yale official testified that the university valued the racial and cultural diversity at DMHS so highly that Yale representatives visited DMHS annually. Many of Cliffs' students were enrolled in advanced placement classes at DMHS and excelled academically; in 1986, 22 out of the 23 Cliffs' students who graduated from DMHS went on to college. In addition to college preparatory programs, DMHS offers a substantial industrial arts program, a broad continuum of special education services and a wide range of guidance services.

The SAT scores at DMHS are in keeping with New Jersey averages. However, the DMHS scores on the High School Proficiency Test in 1985, the first year the test was required for freshmen, were substandard. In 1986-1987, however, the scores improved substantially, placing DMHS above the State

average in writing and math but slightly below average in reading. In general, 4 those DMHS students who were not college-bound fared worse on standardized tests than average Bergen County high schoolers. Conservative estimates placed the DMHS dropout rate for grades 9-12 at 7.8% in 1986, which was high when compared to the county average of 2.0%-3.0%.

DMHS offers a wide variety of co-curricular activities including athletic teams, honor societies, debating and public affairs clubs, dramatic and musical productions, and school publications. Cliffs' students actively participate in these programs; their degree of participation exceeds that of their Cliffs' peers at THS.

Historically, DMHS has placed special emphasis on proper student behavior and, under Segall's leadership, instituted new policies to reduce the number of students who cut classes and engaged in other wrongful behavior. Attendance has been a major concern. Although DMHS saw a rise in attendance from 88.5% in 1985 to 90.8% in 1986-1987, its ultimate goal is 95.0%. Disciplinary out-of-school suspensions and the number of police and fire department calls dropped substantially between 1981 and 1987. No substance abuse incidents were reported in 1985 or 1986. On balance, the ALJ concluded that 5 there was no foundation for rumors that students' safety and well-being were compromised at DMHS. In general, expert and lay witnesses alike described DMHS as a very good school.

2. THS

Completed in 1972, THS is a modern, well-maintained facility on a 28-acre tract abutting a stream. The interior is pleasant and cheerful, and the school features a library/media center with 28,000 books, well-equipped science and computer laboratories, student-teacher conference rooms, and a television studio. Like DMHS, THS offers a wide array of co-curricular activities.

At the time of the hearing, THS teachers had a slight edge over DMHS teachers in terms of experience and advanced degrees. The THS faculty was, however, characterized by a

lack of ethnic diversity (in 1986-1987, 85 of its 87 teachers were white), reflecting the THS student and Tenafly Borough populations generally. Like DMHS, THS has experienced problems with administrative turn-over and teacher morale. Teachers have complained that they lack input as to decisions affecting them and do not receive proper recognition for their efforts.

Because the overwhelming majority of THS students are college bound (83.0% of THS 6 graduating seniors entered four-year colleges in 1987), THS emphasizes college preparation. It offers limited industrial arts classes, and sends its vocationally motivated students to the Bergen County Technical Education Center on a half-day basis. It does not have a full spectrum of special education programs and offers a conventional guidance program emphasizing college admissions.

Attendance at THS was 95.9% during the 1984-1985 school year. THS uses an innovative approach to discipline, giving qualified students freedom to move about the school facilities during unscheduled periods. In 1984-1985, THS reported three incidents of drug use, although it later admitted having concealed a number of other such incidents that year. The ALJ opined that the disparity between the number of drug incidents at THS and those reported at DMHS might have been due to greater monitoring at THS.*fn2

7 C. The Relationship between the Districts

In October 1965, Cliffs and Englewood executed a 10-year sending-receiving contract to begin in 1967. The agreement essentially obligated Cliffs to send its public high school students to DMHS and required that Englewood maintain DMHS' accreditation and confer with Cliffs "on matters of mutual concern to the High School program." Cliffs was obligated to pay Englewood for the cost of educating its students.

Every year between 1970 and 1976 Cliffs sent approximately 60.0% of its graduating eighth graders, or approximately 60 to 70 students, to DMHS. The remaining Cliffs' eighth graders chose to attend private schools. During these years, the total number of Cliffs' students attending DMHS averaged approximately 245 per year. During the middle 1970s, however, Cliffs became dissatisfied with the sending-receiving relationship. In 1977, rather than renew the relationship and because applicable law made terminations of such relationships subject to the Commissioner's approval, Cliffs petitioned the Commissioner to sever the relationship so that it could explore the establishment of sending-receiving relationships with other districts. 8 Englewood opposed the severance. Cliffs eventually withdrew its petition, apparently because it was unable to support its allegation that DMHS was not providing a good education.

In 1978, Cliffs commissioned Francis A.J. Ianni and others, to study "the community's attitudes towards their educational programs" ostensibly because of the decline in the number of Cliffs' students who were attending public school generally. In 1979, the Ianni study concluded that the Cliffs' community was dissatisfied with the class sizes and atmosphere in the lower grades, and the academic preparation in the middle grades. The study also showed that, at the high school (DMHS) level, Cliffs' parents were mostly concerned with racial balance, discipline and educational standards.

In the late 1970s, newspaper articles emphasizing the negative aspects of DMHS began to appear. These newspaper accounts contributed to the growing public perception that DMHS had serious problems and to the declining enrollment of Cliffs' students at DMHS. During this period, the question of severance became a political issue; at one point all of the candidates for Cliffs' school board were in favor of severance, and the 9 slate most committed to severance ultimately prevailed in the 1985 election.

Between 1974 and 1982, Cliffs affirmatively encouraged its high school-aged students to attend DMHS. For example, during 1980-1981, "cottage parties" were held between Cliffs and Englewood, at which board members and teachers from DMHS were available to answer questions about the school; however, the program ceased after one year, and by 1982 Cliffs stopped encouraging its students to attend DMHS altogether.

Before 1982, THS was the receiving school for students from Alpine, a wealthy community on Tenafly's northeastern border. Around 1982, Tenafly's superintendent reported to Tenafly that, in an informal Discussion with Dr. Harold France, Superintendent of Cliffs' schools from 1973 to 1986, Dr. France had said that it would be "most interesting" if and when Tenafly decided to admit non-resident students on a tuition basis, i.e., admission based on individual tuition agreements with parents outside the district as opposed to a sending-receiving agreement with another district. In 1982-1983, Tenafly instituted a program to admit non-resident students to its public schools, including THS, on a tuition 0 basis. When the program was adopted by Tenafly, Cliffs began providing, upon request, written instructions to the parents of Cliffs' students as to how to apply to THS for admission on a tuition basis, although it did not provide such instructions for any other school.

By 1983-1984 Cliffs had amassed grievances against DMHS as follows: declining attendance of Cliffs' students at DMHS; the belief that DMHS was no longer an effective school; Englewood's plan to begin sending its eighth graders to DMHS, thereby further alienating Cliffs' DMHS students (because they would be at DMHS one year less than Englewood's students); and Englewood's failure to have discussed with Cliffs, in advance, the policy of sending eighth graders to DMHS. In November 1985, Cliffs voted to enter into a sending-receiving relationship with Tenafly; Tenafly reciprocated. Until such time as Cliffs' sending-receiving relationship with Englewood was terminated, however, the THS policy was to accept Cliffs' and other municipalities' students on a tuition basis. The

primary factors which THS considered under its private admission program were the academic, disciplinary and attendance records of the applicants. 1 Tuition for 1987-1988 was approximately $5,480.

From the inception of the THS private tuition program through 1986, 59.3% of its private students came from Cliffs and 22.9% from Englewood. In 1986, 76 students came from Cliffs and 16 from Englewood.

D. Racial Composition and Enrollment Trends at DMHS and THS

In general, public school enrollment was down in all three districts and this trend seemed likely to continue. Since 1977, enrollment of Cliffs' students at DMHS dropped dramatically and at a much faster rate than the general decline in the schoolaged population. Having averaged approximately 60.0% throughout most of the 1970s, the number of graduating Cliffs' eighth graders attending DMHS fell from a high of 69.0% in 1980-1981 to a low of 4.4% in 1987-1988, or 2.6% of the total DMHS enrollment. In 1982-1983, 1,128 students attended DMHS, of whom only 119 were from Cliffs. In that year the DMHS student body was 31.5% white, 55.5% black, 10.3% Hispanic and 2.7% Asian. In 1987-1988, 799 students made up the DMHS student body, of whom only 21 were from Cliffs. During that year, the racial composition of the DMHS student body had changed to 11.8% white, 66.2% black, 2 17.8% Hispanic and 3.9% Asian.

After Tenafly's non-resident private admission program began in 1982, the number of Cliffs' students attending THS rose annually while the number of Cliffs' students attending DMHS continued to drop. Table 1 sets forth the enrollment trend between 1982 and 1988:

TABLE 1

Cliffs Students Cliffs Students

School Terms Attending DMHS Attending THS

1982-1983 119 11

1983-1984 92 21

1984-1985 73 33

1985-1986 60 48

1986-1987 35 62

1987-1988 21 76

In addition, following the inception of Tenafly's tuition program, the number of non-resident tuition students from all districts attending THS increased. By 1985-1986, THS had 74 non-resident students, or roughly three times the number of non-resident students enrolled in any other high school district in the State. For example, of the 43 high school districts accepting non-resident students, only 16 had more than five such students.

In 1987-1988, Cliffs' 486 students were 50.8% white, 42.2% Asian, 5.5% Hispanic and 1.5% black. Of the 21 Cliffs' students attending DMHS in 1987-1988, 15 were white, 4 were Asian and 2 were Hispanic. Had Cliffs sent those students to 3 THS instead, it would have altered the composition of DMHS to 10.2% white, 68.0% black, 18.0% Hispanic and 3.5% Asian. Such an alteration would have been a 16.0% loss in the DMHS white student body but would have resulted in only a 1.6% decrease in the proportion of white students at DMHS. Had the sending-receiving relationship been terminated in 1982-1983, 119 students would have been withdrawn from DMHS, rather than the 21 under the 1987-1988 figures. According to the 1980 census figures for school-aged children of Cliffs, in 1982-1983 this would have resulted in an approximately 6.5% decrease in the DMHS white student body.*fn3

In 1985-1986, the THS student body of 946 was 84.0% white, 13.4% Asian, 1.3% Hispanic, and 0.6% black. Of the 48 Cliffs'

students attending THS in 1986, 38 were white, 8 were Asian and 2 were Hispanic; none was black. In 1987-1988 the THS student body which declined to 891 was 80.7% 4 white, 17.8% Asian, 0.9% Hispanic and 0.6% black.

Englewood's own students had, increasingly over the years, chosen to go to private schools rather than attend Englewood's public schools. Private school alternatives were readily available in the area, including more than 20 non-public secondary schools. According to Dr. France, the student migration away from public schools begins early (i.e., sixth or seventh grade) as parents desire to reserve a place for their children in the upper grades of selective private schools.

E. Causes and Effects of the Migration from DMHS

From the time Cliffs made known its intention to form a sending-receiving relationship with THS and terminate its sending-receiving relationship with Englewood, Englewood argued that the issue was not school quality but race. Englewood's experts, Drs. Michelle Fine and Jerry Jacobs, explained that many white parents perceive integrated schools as inferior, and that this perception is a motivating factor in white parents' decisions as to where to send their children to school. Tenafly's expert, Dr. Eugene Smoley, Jr., acknowledged that both the quality and the perceived quality of a school are what substantially 5 motivate parents' selection. Englewood's experts stressed the educational importance of racial diversity in public schools.

A white Cliffs' resident, a 1986 graduate of DMHS, described her high school experience and related that as an eighth grader in Cliffs' upper school in 1982, she regularly heard her classmates using terms like "Dwight Nigger" and "Black Morrow" to refer to DMHS students. She also described the prevailing Cliffs' misconceptions about DMHS, including fears that female students would be attacked or raped, that students' property would be stolen, and that students would be exposed to rampant drug abuse and unsafe restrooms. On the contrary, she,

along with many Cliffs and Englewood parents and students, believed that DMHS was a good, safe school which received wide support for its functions and sports activities from members of both communities.

While Englewood acknowledged that it should have consulted Cliffs with respect to its decision to move its eighth graders to DMHS, it maintained that, throughout the course of its sending-receiving relationship with Cliffs, there was open communication between the two boards and that their relationship was a good one. 6 For example, Englewood involved Cliffs in the search for a new DMHS principal, which ultimately resulted in the selection of Segall. Although he cited several examples of disagreements between the two boards over the years, Dr. France acknowledged that the relationship between the two boards had been professional, and that generally Englewood had kept Cliffs informed of relevant matters and had responded to Cliffs' concerns.

Much of the evidence indicated that if Cliffs' parents were prevented from sending their children to THS, they would not send them to DMHS. This was largely due to the common perception in Cliffs as to problems at DMHS and the resulting "social pressure" on Cliffs' students not to attend DMHS. On the other hand, there was some evidence that certain Cliffs' parents would still enroll their children at DMHS and keep them enrolled there if tuition relationships with THS were enjoined (e.g., in 1988, 3 of 14 Cliffs' eighth graders planning to attend THS said they would attend DMHS if not allowed to go to THS. Out of 25 Cliffs' students who started DMHS in 1982, 23 graduated in 1986).

Cliffs' expert, Dr. Mario Tomei, using the cohort survival projection 7 method (i.e., a methodology based upon the proportion of students attending one grade who were enrolled in the same school in the previous grade), projected that if the Cliffs-Englewood sending-receiving relationship was not severed and DMHS remained a 9-12 grade school, by 1990-1991 there would

be 58 white students at DMHS, or 8.8% of the student body; and if the relationship were severed, he predicted that there would be 43 white students at DMHS, or 6.7% of the student body. In an 8-12 grade school, Tomei projected a total of 61 whites without severance, or 7.6% of the student body; with severance, he projected a total of 46 whites or 5.8% of the student body. Unlike Englewood's experts, Tomei projected no secondary loss of middle class Englewood black and Hispanic students as a result of severance.

Dr. Jacobs opined that, in the event of severance, DMHS would be 3.0% white, 1.0% Asian, 77.0% black and 18.0% Hispanic. Along with Dr. Jacobs, Dr. Fine also argued that there would be a secondary impact -- i.e., the loss of Englewood white, Asian and middle class black and Hispanic students from DMHS. According to these experts, a decrease in the racial diversity of DMHS and migration 8 of its white students would be widely seen as an acknowledgment that DMHS is an inferior school essentially for the poor and unmotivated student and would also result in a so-called "symbolic loss," which would stigmatize those students still attending DMHS after a severance.

F. Regionalization

Instead of prescribing a definitive regionalization configuration, Englewood proposed several different scenarios, all of which took into account the fact that neither DMHS nor THS is large enough to accommodate the combined districts' student body (1,690). The first scenario centered around the existing structures. One facility could be used for grades 9 and 10 and the other for grades 11 and 12. A second possibility was to create two magnet schools (one for arts and humanities and one for science and math). A third variation was to use each facility as a comprehensive 9-to-12th grade high school but not to assign students to the schools based on residence. Another alternative was to enlarge the THS facility to accommodate all the students. The final possibility was to combine or regionalize

the three districts and construct a new high school for the region. The configuration 9 chosen would be dependent upon the region's goals and the resources available.

According to Dr. Jacobs, regionalization of the three districts (taking into consideration the Alpine students currently attending THS) would create a 9-to-12 high school region which would be 48.0% white, 31.0% black, 13.0% Asian and 8.0% Hispanic. Those percentages would be substantially stable for the five-year period 1986 to 1991.

Along with Jacobs, Englewood's expert, Dr. Daniel Knueppel opined that regionalization would not cause substantial "white flight." According to them, regionalization would have many attributes, including: providing affirmative action for the existing THS staff as it merges with the DMHS staff; creating comprehensive social learning for THS students as they interact with the racially and economically diverse student body and faculty at DMHS; solving the problems which both schools have had with declining enrollments; creating one school region with an optimal (i.e., approximately 1500) enrollment; and combining the strengths of the two programs by providing a broader and richer educational experience. All experts substantially agreed that regionalization of the three districts was theoretically feasible, ...


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