United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
ANTHONY T. LEE, et al., Plaintiffs,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Intervenor and Amicus Curiae, NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, et al., Plaintiff-Intervenor,
MACON COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DAVID PROCTOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
25, 2008, the Decatur City Board of Education
(''Decatur'') filed a Motion for Declaration
of Unitary Status. After discovery, comprehensive briefing
and two fairness hearings, on July 3, 2012, the court granted
the Motion in part and denied it in part. The court declared
the Decatur City School System to be unitary in all respects
except in the area of Faculty and Staff
Assignment. The court dissolved all outstanding orders
and injunctions, except as related to the assignment of
faculty and staff in the Decatur City schools. The court
concluded that it would be necessary to monitor faculty and
staff assignments for an additional period of time.
12, 2019, after allowing time for a new hiring procedure to
be implemented and its results assessed, the court conducted
a fairness hearing addressing the area of Faculty and Staff
Assignment. Plaintiff-Intervenor and Amicus Curiae, the
United States, has stated that it has no objection to a
declaration of unitary status in the area of Faculty
Assignment, and that “a declaration of unitary status
by [the court] would be appropriate.” (Case No.
5:18-mc-00898-RDP, Doc. # 12 at 11).
case relating to the Decatur City Schools is part of a
state-wide action against numerous Alabama school districts
alleging that the state operated a compulsory segregated
school system in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
See Lee v. Macon Co. Bd. of Education, 267 F.Supp.
458 (M.D. Ala. 1967). On March 26, 1970, the court entered an
order approving a desegregation plan for Decatur's
noted in the court's July 3, 2012 Order, following
numerous conferences among the parties to this litigation and
the court's approval, the parties agreed on new hiring
procedures. Decatur implemented these new hiring procedures
for the 2009-2010 school-year.
October 19, 2011 Fairness Hearing, evidence was presented
regarding Decatur's implementation of the new procedures
and its efforts to recruit minorities. That evidence showed
that the use of computer-based employment programs had
successfully expanded the pool of minority applicants. The
evidence also showed that Decatur had achieved the
appropriate Singleton ratio in faculty assignments.
Singleton v. Jackson Municipal Separate School
Dist., 419 F.2d 1211 (5th Cir. 1969), cert
denied 396 U.S. 1032 (1970). However, testimony at the
hearing indicated that Decatur continued to assign certified
staff pursuant to the provisions of Singleton. That
is, the evidence presented at the 2011 hearing showed that,
even after the appropriate Singleton ratio had been
achieved, race was still considered in faculty assignments to
maintain no more and no less than a particular, rigid
variance from that ratio.
parties agreed faculty hiring and assignment procedures,
which have been in effect since 2009, are as follows
Job Announcements. Job announcements are posted on
the websites of the Alabama State Department of Education and
the Decatur School System.
Application Collection. Decatur retrieves all
applications from the electronic SearchSoft (Hire Enterprise)
database. If Decatur were to receive hard copies of
applications directly, it would direct the applicant to use
the database. All applications received for the various job
announcements are categorized by their corresponding job
announcement identifier, reviewed and maintained in a
centralized database that includes the following
sortable/searchable data fields: position applied for, date
of application received, highest degree obtained,
certifications, highly qualified status, previous work
experience, special training or other work related
experience. In addition, all applications for the job
announcement include a request that the applicant voluntarily
identify his/her race within the form.
Application Intake. Applicants respond to (1) a
general job announcement, and/or (2) a school-specific job
announcement. Decatur uses a general job announcement to
secure candidates before an actual teaching position becomes
available at one of its schools. For example, Decatur will
post a job announcement for a position, such as a Second
Grade Teacher, in anticipation that, based on enrollment
projections, it will have a need for that position at one of
its schools. Decatur will post a school specific job
announcement when a principal and/or supervisor currently has
a need for a position.
Pre-Screening Interview Process. Applicants who meet
the threshold general job announcement requirements receive
an email requesting that they participate in a pre-screening
interview. Certified personnel must participate in a
pre-screening interview. Interviews are conducted by two or
three principals and/or supervisors using a standardized
pre-screening interview instrument consisting of at least
three preliminary questions and a scoring scale from 0-30
points. Decatur makes a concerted effort to have a diverse
interview team comprised of principals and/or supervisors.
The principals rank each applicant and submit an application
packet containing a written evaluation of each candidate.
Decatur catalogs each application packet and a representative
from the central office reviews the packet to ensure that
each candidate has met the requirements of that job
announcement. Decatur then uses these evaluations to create a
preliminary applicant pool. Candidates who receive a score of
18 or above are designated as “HR Recommended, ”
signaling to principals/supervisors that the candidate has
successfully completed the pre-screening process and is
eligible to interview for open positions. When a school
principal and/or supervisor posts a job announcement, he/she
can view the database and see an applicant list that includes
candidates from the pre-screening interview applicant pool as
well as candidates that were not pre-screened and may be
responding to that school specific job announcement. If a
candidate has not been pre-screened, the candidate cannot be
considered until he or she goes through pre-screening.
Applicant Selection. Principals/supervisors use the
on-line data base system (SearchSoft) to search for eligible
applicants to fill open positions using non-discriminatory,
job related criteria. Decatur has instructed
principals/supervisors to select and interview at least ten
applicants from the central office's applicant pool,
including the pre-screened applicants (the “interview
pool”) for a job posting, unless the central
office's applicant pool itself does not contain ten
applicants. If fewer than ten applicants apply for a
position, or fewer than ten applicants are HR recommended,