CHAPTER 260

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 527

AN ACT TO AMEND THE LAWS OF DELAWARE AS THEY RELATE TO STUDENTS VOLUNTARILY TRANSFERRING FROM ONE PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT TO ANOTHER.

WHEREAS, the eleven (11) school districts directly affected by the case of Evans v. Buchanan are subject to a Court Order which will cause them to be replaced by a single school district for the school year beginning September 1978 unless the outstanding Order of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware in the case of Evans v. Buchanan is reversed or stayed; and

WHEREAS, while the General Assembly will abide by and comply with all applicable Opinions, Orders, Judgments and Decrees of all courts of competent jurisdiction on questions involving public education as well as on all other questions, including all applicable Opinions, Judgments, Orders and Decrees entered in the legal proceeding known as Evans v. Buchanan, nevertheless the General. Assembly does not believe that there is any unconstitutional segregation of students of any race in the public schools in the State of Delaware; and WHEREAS, the General Assembly therefore most respectfully disagrees with the January 9, 1978 Opinion and Order of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware in the case of Evans v. Buchanan; and

WHEREAS, the said Judgment in Evans v. Buchanan is presently on appeal and the General Assembly wholeheartedly supports the appeal which has been taken by the State Board of Education but recognizes that the aforesaid Judgment has the force of law until and unless it is stayed or reversed; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly of the State of Delaware supports the appeals of the State Board of Education in the case of Evans v. Buchanan and enacts this legislation with recognition of the fact that the legislation will have effect only if the aforesaid Court Order is reversed or stayed to permit the aforesaid eleven (11) school districts to continue to exist; and

WHEREAS, although the General Assembly does not believe that any desegregation should be required by Court Order, Judgment or Decree because the General Assembly does not believe there is any unconstitutional segregation of students in the public schools of Delaware as recited above, nevertheless for as long as there shall remain outstanding and not reversed, modified or stayed applicable Court Orders, Judgments and Decrees which direct desegregation of students in or among any of the public schools of the State of Delaware, the General Assembly will in good faith attempt to comply with them; and WHEREAS, whenever there is reference herein to desegregation, it is to be understood that such reference does not in any way imply or suggest that the General Assembly concurs or agrees with the rulings and holdings of the Opinions, Orders, Judgments and Decrees of the Courts in Evans v. Buchanan, but rather such reference is only to the requirement of desegregatory actions imposed by the Court in Evans v. Buchanan and such reference is without prejudice to the views of the General Assembly as set forth above; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly desires to permit the desegregation required by the Courts by voluntary means to the greatest extent possible so that students and their parents or guardians or other persons who legally stand in place of their parents will have the greatest possible opportunity to make their own individual and informed decisions as to the school districts said students will attend when the students are moved on account of Evans v. Buchanan; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly believes that the students and citizens of the State of Delaware, as well as the public school system of the State of Delaware, will all be best served if the desegregation required by Court Order occurs by voluntary means and with no compulsory, mandated or forced transfers of students among the eleven (11) school districts involved; and

WHEREAS, for the 1977-1978 school year the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the eleven (11) school districts administered a successful voluntary transfer program involving students attending school in the aforesaid eleven (11) school districts; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly is informed that each of the said eleven (11) public school districts will have varying amounts of empty available "seats" or classroom space in various grades for the school year commencing September 1978; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly is informed that at the present time an application for student transfer may be given preference on racial grounds because Court Opinions and Orders in Evans v. Buchanan have placed northern New Castle County in a "remedy" situation, and the General Assembly is further informed that under the current state of judicial decisions, it is not clear whether, if there were no judicial ruling which put northern New Castle County in a "remedy" situation, an application for student transfer could constitutionally be given preference by the "receiving" district because of the race of the applicant; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly believes that voluntary desegregation may be best encouraged (1) if the local School Boards accept all applications for transfers by applicants who are members of the race which is in the majority for the 1977-1978 school year among the students attending school in the public school district in which they reside and which is in the minority for the 1977-1978 school year among students attending school in the public school district in which they reside and which is in the majority for the 1977-1978 school year among students attending school in the school district to which they have applied for transfers.

NOW, THEREFORE:

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. (a) After any decision or order of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit or the United States District Court for the District of Delaware permitting the eleven (11) public school districts directly affected by the case of Evans v. Buchanan to continue to exist, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall promptly collect and compile informational data describing and explaining the various educational programs offered in grades 1 through 12, inclusive, in each of the following eleven (11) public school districts located in New Castle County:

1. Alexis I. duPont School District

2. Alfred I. duPont School District

3. Claymont School District

4. Conrad Area School District

5. De La Warr School District

6. Marshallton-McKean School District

7. Mount Pleasant School District

8. New Castle-Gunning Bedford School District

9. Newark School District

10. Stanton School District

11. Wilmington Public Schools

and shall, with the cooperation of the School Boards and professional staffs of said districts, prepare a description indicating which programs offered by each of said districts are considered by such district or by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to be unique, specialized, of particularly high quality, or to have special or peculiar advantages for all or for certain students, and containing such other information as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall have determined to be appropriate to give each student a full understanding of the opportunities presently available in all eleven (11) school districts, and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall have such information prepared in written form for distribution to students in grades kindergarten through 11, inclusive, in each of said eleven (11) school districts. In preparing the descriptions and explanations the State Superintendent of Public Instruction may set forth guidelines for the preparation of said descriptions and explanations and permit the School Boards of the eleven (11) districts to prepare as much of the final descriptions and explanation as he deems appropriate.

(b) After any decision or order of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit or the United States District Court for the District of Delaware permitting the eleven (11) public school districts directly affected by the case of Evans v. Buchanan to continue to exist, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall promptly determine the best and most accurate estimates as are available of the number of available "seats" or amount of classroom space each of the aforesaid eleven (11) districts is expected to have for each of the grades 1 through 12, inclusive, for the school year commencing September 1978, assuming that the aforesaid eleven (11) districts are permitted to exist for the school year commencing September 1978.

(c) After any decision or order of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit or the United States District Court for the District of Delaware permitting the eleven (11) public school districts directly affected by the case of Evans v. Buchanan to continue to exist, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall promptly determine and compile data that will indicate the racial mixture of students in each of the grades kindergarten through 11, inclusive, in each of the schools in each of the eleven (11) school districts for the current school year of 1977-1978.

(d) After any decision or order of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit or the United States District Court for the District of Delaware permitting the eleven (11) public school districts directly affected by the case of Evans v. Buchanan to continue to exist, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall promptly determine and compile the numbers of students in each of grades kindergarten through 11, inclusive, in each of the eleven (11) said districts during the current school year of 1977-1978, and shall also promptly determine and compile the most accurate estimates as are available of the expected number of students in each of the grades 1 through 12, inclusive, in each of the eleven (11) said districts for the school year commencing September 1978, assuming that the aforesaid eleven (11) districts continue to exist for the school year commencing September 1978.

(e) After any decision or order of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit or the United States District Court for the District of Delaware permitting the eleven (11) public school districts directly affected by the case of Evans v. Buchanan to continue to exist, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall promptly compile such other information and data as he believes will be relevant and material for students and their parents or guardians or other persons who stand legally in the place of their parents, or for the various School Boards, in deciding on the advisability of making or accepting applications for student transfers among the eleven (11) said districts for the school year commencing September 1978.

(f) Immediately after any decision or order of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit or the United States District Court for the District of Delaware permitting the eleven (11) public school districts directly affected by the case of Evans v. Buchanan to continue to exist, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall

establish the Calendar of Voluntary Transfer Dates referred to herein and shall promptly submit the Calendar to the General Assembly. The Calendar of Voluntary Transfer Dates shall include an application closing date which shall be no later than August 15, 1978. Notwithstanding the provisions of 14 Del. C., §603, the instructions prepared by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for completing and filing applications may provide that the applications are to be filed by the date included in the Calendar of Voluntary Transfer Dates as the application closing date.

(g) The State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall collect all of the data and information required by this Act by a date which he shall have determined and included on the Calendar of Voluntary Transfer Dates and shall complete the printed compilation and preparation of the information and data which he is to determine, compile and prepare pursuant to this Act by a date which he shall have determined and included on a Calendar of Voluntary Transfer Dates. The data compiled pursuant to this Section 1 shall be computed separately (i) with the assumption that the students who are attending school for the 1977-1978 school year in districts other than their district of residence in accordance with the provisions of Laws of Delaware, Volume 61, Chapter 32 will be attending schools in the school districts in which they attend school for the 1977-1978 and (ii) with the assumption that such students will be attending school in their district of residence.

(h) The State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall prepare and have a supply of printed forms of application for student transfer among the eleven (11) said districts for grades 1 through 12, inclusive, for the school year commencing September 1978, in such form as he shall determine and in such numbers that there will be a copy available for each student in grades kindergarten through 11, inclusive, in each of the eleven (11) said districts by a date which he shall have determined and included on the Calendar of Voluntary Transfer Dates. The State Superintendent may prepare the application in a form that will permit an applicant to apply to more than one district by means of a single application and that will require an applicant to state an order of preference among districts.

(i) By a date determined by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and included on a Calendar of Voluntary Transfer Dates, he or such representatives as he designates from his own staff and the staffs of the local school districts shall visit with all teachers and all students in each of the grades kindergarten through 11, inclusive, in each school in each of the eleven (11) said districts during regularly scheduled school hours provided, however, that if the court order or decision permitting the eleven (11) districts to continue to exist is issued at a date which makes this impossible the State Superintendent may call special voluntary meetings of teachers and students for this purpose. During and for the purpose of these visits the students and teachers shall be assembled into such groups as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction or his representatives deem appropriate, and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction or his representatives shall spend a period of time not less than that determined by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to be adequate

with each such group, explaining and describing the voluntary transfer system as authorized by this Act and by 14 Del. C., § 602 and 603, as amended at that time, and shall distribute to each student present a copy of as much of the printed material compiled and prepared by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction pursuant to this Act as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall have determined to be appropriate to give each student a full understanding of the opportunities available in all school districts to which he or she is eligible to transfer to among the aforesaid eleven (11) school districts, and also shall distribute a copy of the form of application for student transfer, giving appropriate instructions for the completion and signing of such applications and the timing for and location for filing and submitting such applications, all of which shall have been determined by the State Board of Education.

(j) By a date which he shall have determined and included on a Calendar of Voluntary Transfer Dates, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall distribute by such means as he shall determine to each student's home (i) such printed material as he shall have determined to be appropriate to give each student and parent, guardian or person who legally stands in the place of a parent, a full understanding of the opportunities available in all school districts to which he or she is eligible to transfer among the aforesaid eleven (11) school districts and (ii) a copy of the form of application for student transfer, giving appropriate instructions for the completion and signing of such applications and the timing for and location for filing and submitting such applications, all of which shall have been determined by the State Board of Education.

(k) The State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall compile data indicating, by race, and by school district of residence, the number of voluntary transfer applicants for each school district and the number of applicants accepted by each school district and such other information as he deems appropriate, and shall submit said information to the General Assembly by a date included on the Calendar of Voluntary Transfer Dates.

(1) The State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall take such action as he deems appropriate to coordinate the acceptances of voluntary transfer applications in order to minimize unnecessary transportation expense and to eliminate duplication of acceptances.

Section 2. In accordance with the following provisions, the School Boards of the aforesaid eleven (11) school districts shall be required to accept all applications for transfers for the 1978-1979 school year by applicants who are members of the race which is in the majority

among the students attending school in the public school district in which they reside and which is in the minority for the 1977-1978 school year among the students attending school in the school district to which they apply, unless the school district to which they apply can

document that it is not expected to have an available "seat" or available classroom space for such applicant in the grade he would be attending

for the school year commencing in 1978:

(a) To be eligible for transfer under this Section 2 a student must, on or before the application closing date determined by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and included on the Calendar of Voluntary Transfer Dates established in accordance with Section 1 of this Act, and in accordance with a procedure to be established by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, have submitted a written application to the school district in which he or she desires to attend school or its representative designated by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and, simultaneously with submitting said application to such school district, must have submitted a copy thereof to the school board of the'school district in which he or she resides or its representative designated by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

(a) The school district to which application has been made shall endeavor to notify each applicant of its decision, in writing, on or before a date determined by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and included on the Calendar of Voluntary Transfer Dates and shall simultaneously send a copy of its written notification to the school board of the district in which the student resides or has last attended school.

(a) Subject to the provisions of this Section 2, the receiving district shall receive transfers under the provisions of this Section on a first come, first served, space available basis. The capacity of any school building shall be the capacity determined by the State Board of Education.

(a) Approval for transfer is not required by the sending district.

(a) Unless otherwise ordered by a Court of proper jurisdiction or by statutory definition, "majority" shall mean at least 51 percent.

(a) Racial groups shall be identified in accordance with the standard identifications used for research purposes by the State Board of Education.

(a) The provisions for the computing, billing, collecting and paying of tuition shall be followed as described in Chapter 6, Title 14, Delaware Code, as amended, and tuition shall be paid by the sending district.

(a) Transportation for students transferred under provisions of this Section may be provided by rules and regulations of the State Board of Education.

Section 3. (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 2, any pupil who has transferred between any of the aforesaid eleven (11) school districts for the school year 1977-1978 in accordance with the provisions of Laws of Delaware, Volume 61, Chapter 32, and is enrolled on May 1, 1978 in the district to which he or she had transferred shall, at the request of his parents, guardian or other person legally in charge of his or her person, be permitted to remain in such district for the school year 1978-1979 whether or not an application form has been filed in accordance with this Act, provided that the pupil's

parents, guardian or other person legally in charge of his or her person, in accordance with a procedure to be established by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and by a date determined by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and included on the Calendar of Voluntary Transfer Dates established in accordance with Section 1 of

this Act, request that such pupil be permitted to remain in the district, and further provided that a court order or decision permits the aforesaid eleven (11) districts to exist for the school year commencing September 1978. After any decision or order of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit or the United States District Court

for the District of Delaware permitting the eleven (11) public school districts directly affected by the case of Evans v. Buchanan to continue to exist, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall promptly establish a procedure for determining, with regard to each such pupil, whether his parents, guardian or other person legally in charge of his person desire that he or she be permitted to remain in the district to which he or she had transferred.

(b) Each school district to which students have transferred for the 1977-1978 school year in accordance with the provisions of Laws of Delaware, Volume 61, Chapter 32, shall, on or before a date determined by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and included on the Calendar of Voluntary Transfer Dates inform the school district of residence of each such pupil whether said pupil will be returning to

his district of residence or will be remaining in the receiving district.

Section 4. Notwithstanding anything in the Laws of Delaware to the contrary, the school boards in the aforesaid eleven (11) school districts shall not accept the voluntary transfer applications filed for the 1978-1979 school year by applicants who are members of the race which is in the minority for the 1977-1978 school year among the students attending school in the public school district in which they

reside and which is in the majority for the 1977-1978 school year among the students attending school in the school district to which they apply.

Section 5. Amend Section 603 (c), Chapter 6, Title 14, Delaware Code, as heretofore amended, by striking the words "July 1 of any subsequent calendar year" as they appear in said subsection and by substituting in lieu thereof the following words:

"August 15 of 1978 or May 1 of any subsequent calendar year".

Section 6. Amend Section 603 (c), Chapter 6, Title 14, Delaware Code, as heretofore amended, by striking the words "on or before August 1 of the same calendar year in which the application is made" as they appear in said subsection and by substituting in lieu thereof the following words:

"on or before August 31 of 1978, in the case of an application made on or before August 15 of 1978, or on or before June 1 of the same calendar year in which the application is made, in the case of any calendar year subsequent to 1978."

Section 7. The term "to continue to exist" as used throughout this Act in reference to the eleven (11) public school districts directly affected by the case of Evans v. Buchanan and any decision or order of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit or the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, shall mean to continue to exist as separate public school districts conducting and operating their own respective public school programs, properties and systems as they have in the past.

Approved May 5, 1978.