School desegregation in Dayton

Published in InfoPLUS May 2, 1996
   Desegregation in Dayton has been controversial since the United States Supreme Court declared school segregation unconstitutional in 1954. The following is the chronology of the attempt to achieve racial balance in Dayton's schools.

1831 -- School district is established in Dayton.
1842 -- Board of education established.
1849 -- Dayton City Council passes an ordinance to create a separate school district for black children.
1862 -- Dec. 31, first celebration of emancipation is held. Emancipation Proclamation takes effect the next day.
1875 -- After black residents in Miami City -- the area bordered by West Third, Bank, Germantown and Broadway streets -- petition the school board for a school, one opens in December.
1923 -- Roosevelt High School opens. The school is integrated, but has segregated swimming pools.
1933 -- Dunbar High School the city's first all-black high school, opens at 215 S. Summit St. (now Paul Laurence Dunbar Street).
1950 -- Segregated swimming at Roosevelt High School abolished.
1954 -- U.S. Supreme Court declares school segregation unconstitutional.
1955 -- U.S. Supreme Court orders desegregation "with all deliberate speed."
1965 -- Black teachers make up 24 percent of the certificated personnel; compared to 11.6 percent in 1950; 11.6 percent in 1956 and 20.3 percent in 1963.
1968 -- U.S. Supreme Court declares "freedom of choice" plans inadequate if they fail to eliminate one-race schools in districts that have practiced segregation.
1968 -- Dayton Catholic schools declare "open" policy for black students, in response to charges of discrimination in Dayton parochial schools.
1969 -- Dayton schools declared out of compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In a study conducted Nov. 12-22, 1968, the Office for Civil Rights staff states that the, "district pursues a policy of racially motivated assignment of teachers and other professional staff." Out of a total of 5,627 black high school pupils, 85 percent are concentrated in three high schools, out of a total of 11 high schools. 15,479 -- approximately 85 percent -- of black elementary students attend 20 of the 53 Dayton elementary school. In 17 of those 20, blacks make up 90 to 100 percent of enrollment.
April 17, 1972 -- The local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People files suit in U.S.District Court in Columbus on behalf of families in the district.
February 1973 -- The Dayton school board, controlled by conservatives, refuses to renew the contract of Wayne Carle, school superintendent and desegregation supporter.
February 1973 -- U.S.ĘDistrict Court Judge Carl B. Rubin rules that segregation exists in the Dayton public school system.
July 1973 -- Rubin approves a desegregation plan prepared by the conservative majority of the school board. The plan relies on science centers and other part-time programs.
August 1973 -- NAACP files an appeal with the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, charging the plan will not solve the segregation problem.
August 1974 -- A three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court reject the plan and order a new one drawn up.
January 1975 -- The Dayton School board approves a plan that relies on magnet schools to desegregate the system and submits it to Rubin.
March 10, 1975 -- Rubin approves the magnet plan.
March 19, 1975 -- The NAACP files an appeal with the Sixth District Court, charging the plan doesn't do what the appellate court ordered Rubin to do.
June 1975 -- The three -judge appellate court rejects the board's magnet plan and sends it back to Rubin.
July 3, 1975 -- Rubin appoints Charles Glatt, an Ohio State University education professor and desegregation expert, to draw up a plan.
Sept. 14, 1975 -- A gunman shoot and kills Glatt as he works on the desegregation plan at the old Post Office Building downtown.
Dec. 1, 1975 -- The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear the school board's appeal. Board attorneys wanted to argue that the proposed desegregation plan exceeds the scope of the violation.
Dec. 3, 1975 -- Rubin receives three plans, each relying on busing: one from the school board; one from the NAACP; and one from Glatt's widow.
Dec. 29, 1975 -- Rubin issues an order without accepting any of the three plans. He orders that each school must be balanced racially within a 15 percent margin of the overall racial makeup of the school district. He appointed John Finger Jr, a Rhode Island College professor and desegregation expert, to oversee the new plan.
March 15, 1976 -- Rubin accepts Finger's plan, which calls for clustering and pairing 37 elementary schools and four high schools. An estimated 13,230 students are to be bused to achieve desegregation.
March 26, 1976 -- The Dayton School board, by a 5-2 vote, decides to appeal the Finger Plan to the U.S.Sixth Circuit Court and to take the case to the U.S Supreme Court if necessary.
July 9, 1976 -- School board attorneys appear in the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court for a third time, arguing the court-imposed remedy exceeds the scope of the violation.
July 27, 1976 -- The appellate court denies the appeal and the school board vows to take the appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court.
August 1976 -- School board attorneys ask the U.S. Supreme Court to delay the plan. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart declines to grant the delay in time for the start of school.
Sept. 2, 1976 -- School opens with school pairing and busing for racial desegregation.
1977 -- U.S.ĘSupreme Court rules in the Dayton case that districtwide busing cannot be ordered unless a school board is found guilty of districtwide segregation. High court allows Dayton busing to continue busing pending further lower-court proceeding
1977 -- Rubins dismisses Dayton suit.
1978 -- Sixth Circuit Court finds Dayton school board guilty of unconstitutional segregation that had districtwide impact, orders continuation of districtwide busing.
1979 -- U.S. Supreme Court in the Dayton case reaffirms courts' rights to order districtwide busing when discrimination with districtwide impact in found.
1986 -- Ten years after busing was instituted in Dayton schools, the number of school-age children living in Dayton who did not attend public schools rose from 8 percent to 18 percent. Fewer students overall were attending the Dayton city schools. Between 1970 and 1980, the city's population dropped from 242,917 to 193,938 -- a drop that could be attributed to the recession in the early 80s that forced many people to move elsewhere to look for jobs. But the number of whites living in the city during those 10 years dropped by 48,962, compared to a drop of 417 in blacks living in Dayton during the same period.
1996 -- Dayton schools superintendent James Williams announces plan to divide district into three zones -- central, north and south, consolidate middle and high schools and allow secondary school students to choose to attend any school in the district. Williams announces the school board sue the state to help pay for the $431 million plan.


Sources: Montgomery County Historical Society; Dayton City Schools; Dayton Daily News archives.