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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
MIDLAND-ODESSA DIVISION

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
DR. VIOLA COLEMAN, et al., Plaintiffs-Intervenors,
MIDLAND LULAC COUNCIL NO. 4386; PERMIAN BASIN LULAC COUNCIL NO. 4434, Plaintiffs-Intervenors
>v.
MIDLAND INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al., Defendants.
C.A. NO. MO 70 CA 67

CONSENT ORDER AND SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

      This cause came before the Court on Defendants Midland Independent School District ("MISD"), et al.'s Motion to Dismiss (filed September 11, 1998) and renewed Motion to Dismiss (filed June 25, 1999) and the plaintiff-parties' respective Responses and Objections to both Motions.  Following extensive discovery, the parties engaged in good faith negotiations and voluntarily agreed, as indicated by the signatures below, to enter into this Consent Order and Settlement Agreement ("Agreement"), subject to the Court's approval.

      After reviewing the terms of the Agreement, this Court concludes that its entry is consistent with the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and that it will further the orderly desegregation of MISD.

      It is therefore ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that Defendants are hereby directed to fully implement the provisions of the Agreement.

I. SECONDARY COURSE ENROLLMENT

      A. By June 1, 2000, MISD shall develop a plan to eliminate all general tier secondary courses and retain a two-tiered system, with only advanced and gifted/talented ("G/T") secondary courses for grades 7-8.  By December 31, 2000, MISD shall develop a plan to eliminate all general tier secondary courses and retain a two-tiered system, with only advanced and G/T secondary courses for grades 9-12.  In developing both plans, MISD shall solicit input from the plaintiff-parties, and permit them to review any draft plans and to offer suggestions before any plans or proposals are adopted by MISD.  The plan shall provide (1) a curriculum guide (similar to those developed in the District's secondary social studies program) for each secondary course for teaching groups of students of heterogeneous ability and/or achievement; (2) a system for identifying high school students who have been in general tier courses for a prolonged period and who may need assistance in making the transition from a lower tier to a higher tier; and (3) policies for continuing to increase the number of minority students enrolled in G/T tier secondary courses.

      B. MISD shall publicize to the community and students that it is moving to a two-tiered system in all previously three- tiered secondary courses.  MISD shall implement the two-tiered system for grades 7-8 so that it takes effect upon the first day of classes for the 2000-01 school year, and shall implement the two-tiered system for grades 9-12 so that it takes effect upon the first day of classes for the 2001-02 school year.

II.LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY ("LEP") PROGRAM

      A. By August 1, 2000, MISD shall do the following:

 (1) Implement (a) a District-wide bilingual education curriculum guide to be implemented in all schools serving LEP students in the bilingual education program; and (b) a District- wide ESL curriculum guide to be implemented at all schools serving LEP students in the ESL education program.  The curriculum guides shall address LEP students' acquisition of English, transition into the regular classroom, and the development of higher order thinking skills.  All draft curriculum guides shall be provided to the plaintiff-parties for review and comment prior to MISD's adoption of the final curriculum guides.

 (2) Prepare a comprehensive staff development plan which shall include provisions for teaching with the new bilingual and ESL curriculum guides.  In developing this plan, MISD shall consult with instructors and administrators in MISD's LEP program.  The plan shall also provide for staff development for bilingual education faculty on identifying and enrolling G/T LEP students, including use of the portfolio approach used to identify students for the elementary G/T program.  MISD shall further provide mandatory workshops for administrators, including school principals, on the importance of student participation in the LEP program and provide suggestions for parental outreach and education.  All draft staff development plans shall be provided to the plaintiff-parties for their review and comment prior to MISD's adoption of a final staff development plan.

 (3) Prepare an annual report for the MISD Board of Trustees ("Board") that includes information on LEP student achievement on coursework and standardized tests (by grade level, school and on a longitudinal basis), the average number of semesters spent in the LEP program, the number of students exited from the LEP program, the number of parent denials, the number of LEP students in the G/T and special education programs, and evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the LEP program with respect to these criteria.  Reports shall be prepared when testing data is available (which typically will be at the end of a school year or beginning of a semester), and shall be provided to the plaintiff- parties.

 (4) Develop measurable goals for the LEP program.  These goals would include goals for decreasing the number of parent denials and improving student achievement on coursework and standardized tests.  These goals shall be shared with the Board, and MISD's success in meeting these goals shall be included in the Annual Report described in Paragraph II.A(3) above.  Final dismissal of this case shall not be conditioned on MISD's success in meeting any goal as set forth in this paragraph but shall be conditioned on MISD implementing all steps and taking all actions set forth in this Agreement, as described in Section VIII below.  The goals shall be provided to the plaintiff-parties.

 (5) Create a computer program that permits MISD and its LEP program staff to readily identify for each school year the number of students in the LEP program, the number of students exited from the LEP program, and the number of parent denials, and for each student, the campus where the student is presently enrolled, the year in which he was placed in the LEP program, the year the student's parent(s) denied services, if applicable, the date of exit if applicable, and permits MISD to effectively monitor the academic progress of students exited from the LEP program within the last two years, students whose parent(s) denied placement in the LEP program within the last two years, and students currently in the LEP program.

 (6) Prepare and distribute recommended software lists to each MISD campus.  MISD shall make a good-faith effort to correlate the software list with the curriculum guides identified in Paragraph II.A(1) above, and the list shall include available and suitable software to prepare LEP students for the TAAS examination.  The final list adopted by MISD shall be provided to the plaintiff-parties.

      B. MISD shall employ an outside consultant to assist it in performing the actions identified in Paragraphs II.A(1) through II.A(3) above.  The outside consultant shall have full and unfettered access (i.e., without counsel) to MISD staff and relevant documents concerning the LEP program so that he or she may effectively assist MISD to perform the actions identified in Paragraphs II.A(1) through II.A(3).  The consultant shall be selected by November 30, 1999 upon agreement of all the parties to this case.  If the parties cannot agree by that date upon an outside consultant, the names of the proposed consultants shall be submitted to the Court for resolution, along with a request for an expedited decision.

III. ELEMENTARY STUDENT ASSIGNMENT

A. MISD shall replace the present cluster system with a student assignment plan whereby each MISD student shall have the opportunity to attend a single school within his or her neighborhood attendance zone for grades K through 6, beginning in the 2000-01 school year.  MISD shall redraw and implement  attendance zone lines commencing with the 2000-01 school year so that at least fourteen (14) elementary schools are not racially identifiable in the following manner: at least six (6) elementary schools shall each have an Anglo student enrollment percentage within ten percent (10%) of the District-wide Anglo elementary school student enrollment percentage, and at least eight (8) elementary schools shall each have an Anglo student enrollment percentage within fifteen percent (15%) of the District-wide Anglo elementary school student enrollment percentage.

 B. By June 1, 2000, MISD shall identify two racially identifiable minority elementary schools to be converted to dedicated magnet elementary schools ("magnet schools").  An elementary school shall be considered racially identifiable minority if its Anglo student enrollment percentage is greater than fifteen percent (15%) below the District-wide Anglo elementary school enrollment percentage.  The racial identifiability of any elementary school will be measured after the student assignment plan described in Paragraph III.A is implemented.  The programs offered at the magnet schools shall be unique in nature, and not duplicated elsewhere in MISD at the elementary school level.

 If MISD implements a G/T dedicated magnet elementary school ("G/T magnet"), such a school shall be in addition to the two magnet schools described in the preceding paragraph.  Thus, if MISD implements a G/T magnet, it shall be obligated to implement a total of at least three magnet schools.  Any G/T magnet shall be placed at a racially identifiable minority elementary school or Carver Cultural Center.

 C. During the 1999-2000 school year, MISD shall select the themes (e.g., science and technology, performing arts, international studies and foreign language, Montessori) for the magnet schools.  By January 2001, MISD shall (1) design the magnet schools, put in place the necessary funding, resources and staffing (e.g., applying for federal Magnet School Assistance Program funding), and publicize to the community and students the magnet schools and the programs that shall be offered; and (2) develop an attendance plan for students residing in the former attendance zones for those elementary schools that are converted to magnet schools, and who elect not to enroll in any such school.  In developing the magnet schools and attendance plan described in this paragraph, MISD shall solicit input from the plaintiff-parties, permit them to review any draft assignment plan and magnet school proposals and to offer suggestions before any plan or proposal is adopted by MISD.  The magnet schools shall begin operation on the first day of classes for the 2001-02 school year.

 D. For those racially identifiable minority elementary schools that MISD does not convert to magnet schools, MISD shall create an equity account which shall be funded at $50,000 per year for three years.  The equity account shall be in addition to, and will not supplant, any funding from local, state and

federal sources that MISD would ordinarily provide to these schools as part of the annual budgeting process.  These schools will be able to use this fund for obtaining educational or instructional resources, or increasing teacher salaries.  MISD shall notify these schools in writing by June 1 of each of the next three years, beginning June 1, 2000, of the availability of the equity account for obtaining educational or instructional resources.  A copy of each such notification shall be provided to the plaintiff-parties.

      MISD shall also implement an "elementary sister school program," in which at least two (2) racially identifiable Anglo schools and two (2) racially identifiable minority elementary schools participate in joint activities during the school year.  There shall be four activities per school year so that all students have the opportunity to participate in at least one activity.  Activities may include student assemblies, cultural activities, holiday activities, field days, or performances.  If the number of racially identifiable minority elementary schools exceeds the number of racially identifiable Anglo elementary schools, MISD shall alternate the sister school pairings so that every two (2) years, each student at a racially identifiable minority elementary school shall have the opportunity to participate in a sister-school joint activity.

IV. FACULTY AND STAFF DESEGREGATION

      MISD shall implement by August 1, 2000 a mentoring program under which current minority administrative interns, administrators and teachers identify potential minority candidates and encourage them to apply for administrative intern and teaching positions.  MISD shall also include at least one minority MISD official or employee on both the intern hiring committee and the principal hiring committee.

      MISD shall continue using its best efforts to recruit with ethnically diverse teams.  Whenever MISD is recruiting at a predominately minority college or university, it shall include at least one minority representative on the recruiting team if that team is composed of two or more members.

V. CO- AND EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

      A. Each MISD secondary school shall develop and implement by August 1, 2000 an action plan that includes (1) an annual minority student survey that identifies their interest in co- and extra-curricular activities and any obstacles that prevent participation in these activities; (2) steps to address such obstacles, such as training for teachers and sponsors to identify interested minority students and to encourage their participation, and early intervention programs aimed at students in grades K-6; (3) English and Spanish-language advertisements for each activity, sponsor-contact information, and, for applicable activities, the availability of financial assistance for participation; (4) a record-keeping system that annually monitors co- and extra-curricular activity participation, by race, and activity; and (5) designation of a staff member at each secondary school campus to regularly monitor implementation of the action plan, evaluate the plan's success, and determine additional steps, if any, that should be taken.

      B. Advertisements described in Section V.A(3) above, along with presentations by MISD officials, parent liaisons, and/or activity sponsors, shall be made to organizations in Midland's minority communities, such as clubs, churches, fraternities and sororities, as designated by the plaintiff-parties.

VI. ELEMENTARY GIFTED AND TALENTED PROGRAM

 Within ten (10) days of entry of this Agreement, the plaintiff-parties shall withdraw their objection to termination of this Court's supervision over MISD's elementary G/T program.

VII. FACILITIES

 Within ten (10) days of entry of this Agreement, the plaintiff-parties shall withdraw their objection to termination of this Court's supervision over MISD's school facilities.

VIII. FINAL TERMINATION OF THIS CASE

      A. Continued judicial supervision of this case shall be limited to two areas: to ensure that MISD (1) take all actions identified in this Agreement; and (2) refrain from taking any actions which have the effect of reversing the progress it has made in desegregating the school system (e.g., adopting a placement process that reduces the proportional number of minority students placed in the elementary G/T program).

      B. MISD's reporting to the plaintiff-parties shall be limited as follows: (1) two semi-annual reports, due June 1, 2000 and December 1, 2000, which shall describe the steps taken by MISD to implement this Agreement and identify the specific provision(s) of the Agreement that each step addresses; and (2) quarterly reports, due March 1, 2000, June 1, 2000, September 1, 2000 and December 1, 2000, describing MISD's progress in implementing the magnet school program described in Section III above.  In January 2001, if MISD has taken all actions required by this Agreement, MISD may move to dismiss the case in its entirety without objection by the plaintiff-parties.  In responding to any motion to dismiss, the plaintiff-parties shall be precluded from raising any issue not expressly provided for in this Agreement.  The plaintiff-parties shall have the right to seek judicial relief if MISD does not comply with this Agreement.  All prior orders not inconsistent with this Consent Order and Settlement Agreement remain in full force and effect.

 SO ORDERED, THIS ______ DAY OF _________, 1999.

________________________________
EDWARD C. PRADO
United States District Judge

The following signatures of the parties indicate their consent to the form and content of this Consent Order and Settlement Agreement.

FOR THE PLAINTIFF-INTERVENORS:

_________________________
JUDITH SANDERS-CASTRO
9122 Autumn Skies
San Antonio, TX 78250

_________________________
GARY L. BLEDSOE
316 W. 12th Street, Suite 307
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 322-9992

FOR THE DEFENDANTS:
_________________________
CHARLES L. TIGHE
RICK G. STRANGE
Cotton, Bledsoe, Tighe, Dawson
500 West Illinois, Suite 300
Midland, TX 79701-4337
(915) 684-5782

FOR THE PLAINTIFFS:

_________________________
MICHAEL S. MAURER
JAVIER M. GUZMAN
VALERIE SIMONS
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Educational Opportunities
Litigation Section
Post Office Box 65958
Washington, DC 20035-5958
(202) 514-4092

General Information Educational Opportunities Section
 
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Educational
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Email: education@usdoj.gov
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