Asheville Area Human Relations Council


"Plan for the Asheville City Schools for the Desegregation of Its School System in Compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964."

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OF 1961


I. The Asheville City School District


The school district embraces an area smaller than the corporate area of the city. The population of the school district is approximately 55,000; the current school enrollment is 9,900. The enrollment is 72 percent white and 28 percent Negro, There are 2 senior high schools, 2 junior high schools, and 11 elementary schools. Prior to 1961-62 school year, the school system was operated on a completely segregated basis. During 1961-62, grades 1-3 were desegrated. This resulted in the desegregation of 2 schools.


A plan of complete desegregation is in effect beginning with the 1965-66 school year. At least 8 schools (including the previously all-white senior high school) will conduct integrated classes. The number is no greater due to non-racial attendance zones.


II. Racial Distribution of Pupils and Professional Staff


Tables are attached as Appendix I.


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III. Plan of Desegregation


A plan of desegregation was begun in 1961 at which time grades 1-3 were desegregated and non-racial attendance zones established with respect to the 11 elementary schools. This plan was extended in 1962 to include grades 1 through 6 for the school year 1962-63. On May 7, 1963, the actions of 1961 and 1962 were expanded to a five-year plan incorporating all grades according to the following schedule:


School Year                                   Grades Desegregated

1961-62                                            1-3 inclusive

1962-63                                            1-6 inclusive

1963-61                                            1-8 inclusive

1964-65                                            1-9 inclusive

1965-66                                            1-12 inclusive


Upon adoption of the five-year plan, non-racial attendance area were also established for the junior high schools by combining the attendance zones of the appropriate feeder schools. Attendance areas are necessary to avoid so far as possible overcrowding of particular schools. These attendance areas may be changed from time to time to accommodate shifts in population or building of now schools.


Boundaries of attendance zones have boon established along natural lines surrounding particular schools, taking into account the mountainous terrain and main thoroughfares, particularly in the areas where most of the children walk to school.


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The northern and eastern boundary line between the Hill Street Attendance Area and the Randolph Attendance Area will be modified so that it will run as follows: along Montford Avenue north and west to Courtland Avenue; then west along Courtland Avenue to the intersection of Courtland Avenue and Hall Street; then due west to the boundary of the Asheville City Schools Administrative Unit. So much of the boundary as was north and west of the intersection of Courtland Avenue and Montford Avenue will be abolished. Notwithstanding any previous assignment, every student residing north of Courtland Avenue who formerly resided in the Hill Street Attendance Area will be informed by the Superintendent of the Asheville City Schools by letter that he now resides in the Randolph Attendance Area and is therefore assigned for the school year 1965-66 to the Randolph Elementary School. This letter will also state that all service, facilities, activities, and programs sponsored by or affiliated with the schools of this system will be on a non-segregated basis. Students residing in this area will be assigned annually to the Randolph Elementary School. Any student so assigned may apply for reassignment to the Hill Street Elementary School by completing and submitting the form entitled "Application for Change of Pupil Assignment" which the Asheville City Schools used this year. Applications for reassignment from the Randolph Elementary Schools to the Hill Street Elementary School will not be granted where the request for transfer is on any way related to race, color, or national origin, and every request will be considered without regard to race, color, or national origin.


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For the school year 1965-66, in order to implement the desegregation of grades 10, 11, 12, the Board adopted a plan of assignment and transfer for the high school students. Under this plan all high school students were assigned to particular schools but offered an opportunity to transfer based on their individual personal preference.


Every high school student who for the school year 1965-66 was assigned to the South French Broad School was offered an opportunity to transfer to the Lee Edwards High School, All such timely requests for transfer were granted.


For the year 1966-67, attendance areas have been adopted for the senior high schools based on combining areas of the junior high school attendance zones. Transfer will be permitted for meritorious reasons as set forth below.


IV. Assignment, Reassignment and Transfer


A. Each pupil entering (1) pro-school or first grade; (2) a school of a higher level or (3) the school system for the first time at any level will be assigned to the appropriate school in the non-racial attendance area of his residence.


B. Each pupil who changes residence will continue to be assigned to the school he is presently attending. However, upon request he will be transferred to the school in the attendance zone of his residence.


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C. At or near the end of each school year, each pupil who has not completed the highest grade in his present school will be reassigned to the school ho is attending at that time.


D. Appropriate transfers will be permitted at any time (either before the next school term or during the school year) for reasons of (1) change of residence; (2) inadequacy of public transportation; (3) other meritorious transportation considerations, e.g., more convenient free transportation, car pools, etc.; (4) family consideration., e.g., working mother with child attendant near to school to which transfer is desired;

(5) health, welfare and hardship, e.g., meritorious recommendation of physician or psychiatrist, recommendation of juvenile authorities; (6) special education classes not offered in all schools, e.g., trainable children, remedial reading, certain science, language, vocational courses; (7) convenience of school administration, e.g., relief of overcrowded class where extra space exists in another school, etc. It is impossible to enumerate all of the meritorious reasons for transfer, however, requests will be administered on a consistent basis without discrimination because of race, color, or national origin.


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V. School Attendance Across Administrative Unit Lines


Prior to the 1965 school year, the Asheville City School Unit, upon request of the Buncombe County Unit (which maintained no Negro high school), has accepted certain Negro children in the high school grades. Tuition (in lieu of the city supplemental tax) for these children has been paid by the Buncombe County Unit.


The Buncombe County is under Court Order (July 2, 1965) to assign these students to its previously all-white county high schools.


Other out-of-district students (about 300 in the entire system) have been attending the Asheville City Schools on the basis of individual applications, after release by the County Unit. Acceptance and assignment has been based on the availability of space. In the latter instances, payment of tuition is the responsibility of the individual applicant. Many of those out-of-district students reside within the city limits of the City of Asheville but outside of the City Administrative Unit boundaries. Since the school unit and city do not have coterminous boundaries, the Board has felt a moral obligation to accept a limited number of these students who are city residents in every respect other than of the school unit. Also, a part of the area of the Asheville City School Unit lies outside the city limits.


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VI. Faculty and Staff


Prior to 1965-66, the faculties and professional personnel wore assigned to schools on a segregated basis. However, since 1952, staff conferences, faculty meetings, planning councils, workshops and administrative staffs have been desegregated. For the school year 1965-66, three Negro teachers have been assigned to predominately white schools and three white teachers to predominately Negro schools. The Board has adopted a policy that future professional staff will be employed or rehired and assigned, reassigned, or transferred, on the basis of academic and professional competence and the needs of the school system without regard to race, color or national origin.


VII. Preparations for Desegregation


Asheville, being a resort and retirement area located in the mountains of Western North Carolina, is not a "typical" southern city. Due to the cosmopolitan structure of the community and the presence of an active interracial committee, the people of the community have accepted the desegregation of public facilities, including schools. Because of the reasonable nature of the school and community program, we can expect continued movement in this direction with a maximum of public acceptance and continued good interracial relations and communications. The community has boon virtually free of racial incidents in the past, although there have been some minor complaints from unorganized proponents of segregation and from organized and individual integrationists. None of those represent any substantial segment of the responsible leadership of


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the community. In the overall picture the community and the Board of Education are making every effort to comply with the laws of the state and nation and to maintain good community relations.


Local news media have been quite fair and generous in providing coverage and in presenting to the public the steps taken toward desegregation and have complimented both the white and Negro communities for the sensible attitudes exhibited.


VIII. Consolidation


Enabling legislation was enacted by the 1965 North Carolina General Assembly providing for the consolidation of the Asheville City Administrative Unit with the Buncombe County Administrative Unit into one county-wide unit. Of course, if, and when, consolidation is accomplished a complete reorganization of the systems will be in order. It is unlikely that such consolidation will become effective prior to 1968.


IX. High School Consolidation


The Asheville Unit now maintains two high schools - one predominately white and one predominately Negro.

The school population in the city indicates a downward trend< Studies now being made indicate the probability that within two or three years the entire senior high school population will be such that it can be housed, in the Lee H. Edwards High School (now predominately white), if several classrooms are provided.


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In that event, the present high school on South French Broad Avenue will be converted to a third junior high school, thus relieving present pressures on all schools east of the French Broad River and the school system can then be operated on a complete 6-3-3 basis.


X. Additional Facilities


Plans for the construction of a vocational classroom building at the campus on which the Lee Edwards High School is located have been prepared and are currently under review by the Director of Instruction of the Asheville City Schools and the Director of Vocational Education of the State Department of Public Instruction in Raleigh. The building will cost approximately $900,000. The State Department of Public Instruction is expected to provide half this sum as soon as the building plans are approved. The other half of the sum is expected to come from the Appalachian Fund. As soon as the building plans are approved, the school board will open bids Construction will begin shortly thereafter. An architect already has boon designated. When this construction is completed, the South French Broad School will be converted into a junior high school, and the Leo Edwards High School will servo all students who attend senior high school in this unit.


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The school board agrees to report to the U. S. Commissioner of Education as follows:

A. Approval of application for funds

B. Completion of working plans and letting of bids

C. Progress of construction six months after bids are let

D. Six months later or completion of construction, whichever is earlier



XI. Burton Street School


Burton Street School is a small school established many years ago in a small compact settlement of middle-income Negroes, The community was established, prior to the annexation of West Asheville by Asheville in 1923 and remains as the only Negro residential area west of the French Broad. River, Until recent years this elementary school housed about 100 pupils in grades 1-7. For 1965-66, grade 7 has been transferred to Hall Fletcher Junior High School and grade 6 has been transferred to Aycock School, By the beginning of the school year 1966-67, the attendance area designated as the Burton Street Attendance Area will be eliminated. The students who previously attended that school will for the school year 1966-67 and each school year thereafter be assigned to the Aycock Attendance Area.



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XII. Publicity


All assignment, reassignment, and transfer policies of the Board are published in one of the local daily newspapers with explanation of rights and procedures to be followed respecting transfer* This is advertised by paid advertisement and runs for two consecutive days. Public announcements are regularly made of scheduled Board meetings. The local daily newspapers always send a reporter. The radio and television stations are usually represented. Generally, school board action receives wide publicity.

Immediately upon the acceptance of this plan by the U. S. Commissioner of Education, copies of this plan will be made available to all interested local organizations and news media. They will be asked to give conspicuous publicity to the plan.


XIII. Transportation


The Asheville City School System maintains no pupil transportation facilities. Pupils use public transportation which is desegregated.


XIV. Assurance


The Asheville City Board of Education hereby certifies that no person in its school system shall knowingly, on the grounds of race, color or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity under its jurisdiction.



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XV. Certification

This is to certify that the foregoing school desegregation plan for compliance with Title VI of the Civil Plights Act of 1961 was reaffirmed and adopted by the Asheville City Board of Education in regular session on September 7, 1965.

Chairman, Board of Education

Secretary and Superintendent

September 1, 1965


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Appendix 1-a

Asheville City Schools

II. Racial Distribution of Pupils and Professional Staff 1961-62


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Appendix 1-b

Asheville City Schools

II. Racial Distribution of Pupils and Professional Staff 1962-1963


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Appendix 1-c

Asheville City Schools

II. Racial Distribution of Pupils and Professional Staff 1963-1964


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Appendix 1-d

Asheville City Schools

II. Racial Distribution of Pupils and Professional Staff 1964-1965


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Appendix 1-e

Asheville City Schools

II. Racial Distribution of Pupils and Professional Staff 1965-1966


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