Case: Montgomery v. Starkville Municipal Separate School District

1:83-cv-00293 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi

Filed Date: July 1, 1983

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This is a school desegregation case arising out of Starkville, Mississippi. Plaintiffs, black students and their families, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi and alleged that Starkville maintained a dual educational system that was segregated on the basis of race. They sought injunctive relief from the court to eliminate the dual system. The case was first filed in 1969 as Bell v. Starkville Municipal School District, and given the docket number 69-37…

This is a school desegregation case arising out of Starkville, Mississippi. Plaintiffs, black students and their families, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi and alleged that Starkville maintained a dual educational system that was segregated on the basis of race. They sought injunctive relief from the court to eliminate the dual system.

The case was first filed in 1969 as Bell v. Starkville Municipal School District, and given the docket number 69-37a. The claims against the City of Starkville and Oktibbeha County were severed into two discrete cases: Harris v. Oktibbeha County School District and Montgomery v. Starkville Separate School District.

On August 7, 1969, District Judge Orma R. Smith entered an order directing Starkville to prepare a desegregation plan to be filed with the court for the 1970-71 school year. This plan was disapproved by Judge Smith and Starkville was instructed to submit a new plan in January 1970. Permanent injunctive relief was granted to the plaintiffs in February 1970. The court ordered that Starkville officials work to immediately begin operating a unitary school system as required by the Supreme Court in Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education, 396 U.S. 19 (1969) and Carter v. West Feliciana School Board, 396 U.S. 290 (1970). Prior to this date, Starkville had two high schools (one white and one black), two junior high/middle schools (one white and one black), and four elementary schools (two white and two black). The teachers and school administrators were also almost completely segregated. After this order, students and faculty in Starkville were reassigned to achieve desegregation.

According to a 1987 opinion, the plaintiffs asked the court for additional injunctive relief approximately a year after desegregation commenced. The plaintiffs asked that Starkville file semi-annual reports with the court to monitor Starkville's compliance with the 1970 order. This motion was sustained on November 29, 1971.

There was an additional case filed in the Northern District of Mississippi in 1971 related to this matter entitled Armstead v. Starkville Municipal Separate School District, which dealt with Starkville's discrimination against its black teachers. Relief was granted to the teachers and Starkville was ordered to stop its discriminatory practices of denying black teachers reemployment at a higher rate than their white peers. 325 F. Supp. 560 (N.D. Miss. 1971).

Starkville filed a motion to dissolve the injunctions in 1978. This motion was withdrawn by Starkville three years later after the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) withheld complete approval of the system. OCR got involved with the case after the NAACP filed a complaint with them in 1979 and alleged that Starkville's student grouping practices were being used to maintain a dual education system. After the complaint was filed, OCR recommended a number of changes that were implemented by Starkville. As a result, OCR cleared Starkville of all claims brought in the NAACP complaint in 1982.

The plaintiffs filed another request for relief in 1983 and alleged that Starkville had not achieved a unitary school system. (At this point the case was given a new docket number, 1:83-cv-00293-MPM.) District Judge L.T. Senter, Jr. held that the plaintiffs did not establish that Starkville teachers were unequally compensated based on race; plaintiffs did not establish that Starkville has dismissed or demoted teachers based on race; plaintiffs did not establish that Starkville recruited new teachers based on race; Starkville did not maintain a dual system through its practice of achievement grouping even though its use of achievement grouping was deemed to be statistically abnormal; and Starkville's program for creative students was not discriminatory. However, the court held that Starkville did not rebut an inference of discrimination in a program for gifted students. As a result, the court ordered that Starkville create new entrance requirement procedures for this program and the court had to approve the procedures before they were implemented. 665 F. Supp. 487 (N.D. Miss. 1987).

The plaintiffs then appealed the district court's decision to the Fifth Circuit. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision and held that Starkville's achievement grouping system and gifted programs were not discriminatory. 854 F.2d 127 (5th Cir. 1988). Attorneys' fees were awarded to the plaintiffs in the amount of $23,537.50 in 1989. The plaintiffs also received expert witness fees for $8707.17 for a total award of $32,244.67. The parties cross-appealed, but later dismissed their motions.

In 1988, the United States intervened in a case against Oktibbeha County School District. The United States interpleaded Starkville because there were allegations that Starkville was allowing students living in the Oktibbeha County School District to jump district lines and attend school in Starkville. Starkville was dismissed from the case by Judge Senter after discovery turned up no proof that these allegations were true. The United States continued to be involved in the case as of March 2017.

Starkville submitted annual reports to the court throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. On November 14, 2014, Starkville filed a joint motion with the Oktibbeha County School District to consolidate their desegregation cases. The Mississippi State Legislature passed a law mandating that the two school districts be consolidated, so the districts wanted their cases consolidated in order to submit a joint desegregation plan so the districts could continue to be in compliance with their respective desegregation orders. This motion was granted by District Judge Michael P. Mills on January 14, 2015.

On March 17, 2015, the districts filed a motion for the court to approve their desegregation plan for the new, consolidated school district. The parties, working with the U.S. Department of Justice, submitted a joint desegregation order for the consolidated school district. The desegregation order assigned students to schools within the new Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District, set out provisions for faculty and would assignments, described how school construction/site selection will be carried out to prevent a recurrence of a dual school system, contained transportation provisions describing bus transportation within the district, implemented a majority-to-minority transfer policy, described inter-district transfer policies, addressed integration of extracurricular activities, established a biracial advisory committee, pledged to use Mississippi State Department of Education screening guidelines to identify academically gifted students, and agreed to continue filing annual reports with the court. Judge Mills approved this desegregation order on July 13, 2015.

An amended desegregation order was signed by Judge Mills on March 3, 2016. It included many provisions similar to the 2015 order, but expanded some of its provisions and added details about how the parties would resolve disputes amongst themselves before seeking the court's assistance and how the court would continue to monitor the case until the district achieved unitary status.

Since then, yearly reports were submitted on behalf of the Starkville Municipal Separate School District on June 22, 2016, June 30, 2017, and June 29, 2018, in compliance with the 2015 desegregation order. The reports included the following information for all public schools operated by the District:

1. The total number and percentage of students, by race/ethnicity and grade level, assigned to each school.

2. Information on class enrollment for each classroom and its demographics

3. The total number and information of students who have requested intra-district transfers

4. The total number and percentage of teachers and administrators, by race/ethnicity and position, assigned to each school

5. The total number and percentage of non-certified staff, by race/ethnicity and position, assigned to each school.

6. The total number and percentage of employees, by race/ethnicity and position, assigned to the central office.

7. For all hiring: the vacancy filled (i.e., position, school), the date of the hiring decision, and the race of the individual hired.

8. A brief description of any present or proposed plan to site or construct new facilities or expand existing facilities and the projected racial impact of the proposal.

9. Information on whether the transportation system in the Consolidated District was desegregated to the extent that black and white students are transported daily on the same buses.

10. Copies of yearbooks for each school in the District if applicable

11. Whether there was a Biracial Advisory Committee, and information on the Committee

As of 2019, the case is ongoing.

Available Opinions

Montgomery v. Starkville Mun. Separate Sch. Dist., 665 F. Supp. 487 (N.D. Miss. 1987).

Montgomery v. Starkville Mun. Separate Sch. Dist., 854 F.2d 127 (5th Cir. 1988).

Summary Authors

Amelia Huckins (3/7/2017)

Averyn Lee (6/10/2019)

People


Judge(s)

McAlpin, Dolton W. (Mississippi)

Mills, Michael P. (Mississippi)

Senter, Lyonel Thomas Jr. (Mississippi)

Van Graafeiland, Ellsworth Alfred (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Colom, Wilbur O. (Mississippi)

Mitchell, Beverley (Mississippi)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Adams, Holmes S. (Mississippi)

Jones, Bennie L. Jr. (Mississippi)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Active

Judge(s)

McAlpin, Dolton W. (Mississippi)

Mills, Michael P. (Mississippi)

Senter, Lyonel Thomas Jr. (Mississippi)

Van Graafeiland, Ellsworth Alfred (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Colom, Wilbur O. (Mississippi)

Mitchell, Beverley (Mississippi)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Adams, Holmes S. (Mississippi)

Jones, Bennie L. Jr. (Mississippi)

Other Attorney(s)

Breen-Portnoy, Ceala Eloise (District of Columbia)

Hooks, John Simeon (Mississippi)

Jondahl, Andrew Kuffel (District of Columbia)

McNamee, Victoria (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Original Docket

June 30, 1969 Docket

Docket [PACER]

April 18, 2019 Docket

Memorandum Opinion

665 F.Supp. 487

June 8, 1987 Order/Opinion

Memorandum Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

854 F.2d 127

Sept. 9, 1988 Order/Opinion
4

Annual Report to the Court

Montgomery v. Starkville School District

June 30, 2013 Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report
26

2015 Desegregation Order

July 13, 2015 Order/Opinion
34

2016 Desegregation Order

March 3, 2016 Order/Opinion
35

June 2016 Report to the Court of the Strakville-Oktibbeha Consolidation School District

June 22, 2016 Pleading / Motion / Brief
37

June 2017 Report to the Court of the Strakville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District

June 30, 2017 Pleading / Motion / Brief
38

June 2018 Report to the Court of the Strakville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District

June 29, 2018 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

NOTICE OF ENTRY of docket sheets, school desegregation cases EC 83−293, EC 69−37 and EC 69−37(A) (mhg, USDC)

July 29, 2010
2

Annual Report To Court 6/30/11 . (McAlpin, Dolton) Modified on 7/25/2011 (dlh).

July 25, 2011
3

ANNUAL REPORT, June 30, 2012 (McAlpin, Dolton) Modified on 8/16/2012 (dlh).

Aug. 16, 2012
4

ANNUAL REPORT to the Court 2013 Report . (McAlpin, Dolton) Modified on 7/8/2013 (jlm).

July 8, 2013
5

STATUS REPORT To The Governor of Mississippi, The Mississippi Legislature, and Mississippi Board of Education by the Commission on Starkville Consolidated School District Structure . (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit, # 2 Exhibit, # 3 Exhibit, # 4 Exhibit, # 5 Exhibit, # 6 Exhibit, # 7 Exhibit, # 8 Exhibit, # 9 Exhibit, # 10 Exhibit, # 11 Exhibit, # 12 Exhibit, # 13 Exhibit) (Jones, Bennie)

May 28, 2014
6

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by Holmes S. Adams on behalf of Starkville Municipal Separate School District (Adams, Holmes)

Sept. 23, 2014
7

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by John Simeon Hooks on behalf of Starkville Municipal Separate School District (Hooks, John)

Sept. 23, 2014
8

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by Bennie L. Jones, Jr on behalf of Oktibbeha County School District (Jones, Bennie)

Oct. 1, 2014
9

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by Bennie L. Jones, Jr on behalf of Oktibbeha County School District (Jones, Bennie)

Oct. 1, 2014
10

Joint MOTION to Consolidate Cases by Oktibbeha County School District, Starkville Municipal Separate School District. (Adams, Holmes)

Nov. 14, 2014
11

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by Victoria McNamee on behalf of United States of America (McNamee, Victoria)

Dec. 1, 2014
12

RESPONSE to Motion re 10 Joint MOTION to Consolidate Cases filed by United States of America. (McNamee, Victoria)

Dec. 4, 2014
13

ORDER granting 10 Motion to Consolidate Cases. Signed by District Judge Michael P. Mills on 1/14/2015. (lpm)

Jan. 14, 2015
14

Joint MOTION to Approve Desegregation Order for Consolidated School Districts by Oktibbeha County School District, Starkville Municipal Separate School District. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A − House Bill 716, # 2 Exhibit B − 1/24/14 Report of Commission on Consolidation, # 3 Exhibit C − Senate Bill 2818, # 4 Exhibit D − Chart of Provisions of Desegregation Orders, # 5 Exhibit E − Map of Districts' Boundaries, # 6 Exhibit F − Proposed Desegregation Order, # 7 Exhibit G − Starkville School District's RIF Policy, # 8 Exhibit H − 1997 Proclamation of Gov. Fordice, # 9 Exhibit I − 2012 Proclamation of Gov. Bryant) (Adams, Holmes)

March 17, 2015
15

MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT re 14 Joint MOTION to Approve Desegregation Order for Consolidated School Districts . (Adams, Holmes)

March 17, 2015
16

MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply re 14 Joint MOTION to Approve Desegregation Order for Consolidated School Districts, MOTION for Discovery by United States of America. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Proposed Order) (McNamee, Victoria) Modified on 3/27/2015 (jlm).

March 26, 2015
17

MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT re 16 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply re 14 Joint MOTION to Approve Desegregation Order for Consolidated School Districts MOTION for Discovery . (McNamee, Victoria) Modified on 3/27/2015 (jlm).

March 26, 2015
18

ORDER granting 16 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response to 14 Joint MOTION to Approve Desegregation Order for Consolidated School Districts ; granting 16 Motion for Discovery. Responses due by 5/31/2015. Signed by District Judge Michael P. Mills on 3/30/2015. (lpm)

March 30, 2015
19

NOTICE OF SERVICE of Responses to Interrogatories and Requests for Production by Holmes S. Adams on behalf of Oktibbeha County School District, Starkville Municipal Separate School District to United States of America. (Adams, Holmes)

May 1, 2015
20

RESPONSE to Motion re 14 Joint MOTION to Approve Desegregation Order for Consolidated School Districts filed by United States of America. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Defendants' Response to United States' Discovery Requests, # 2 Exhibit Defendants' Production in Response to United States' Discovery Requests) (McNamee, Victoria)

May 22, 2015
21

Joint MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 14 Joint MOTION to Approve Desegregation Order for Consolidated School Districts by Oktibbeha County School District, Starkville Municipal Separate School District (Adams, Holmes) Modified on 5/28/2015 (jlm).

May 28, 2015
22

ORDER granting 21 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply re 14 Joint MOTION to Approve Desegregation Order for Consolidated School Districts Replies due by 6/5/2015.. Signed by District Judge Michael P. Mills on 5/28/2015. (dlh)

May 28, 2015
23

REPLY to Response to Motion re 14 Joint MOTION to Approve Desegregation Order for Consolidated School Districts filed by Oktibbeha County School District, Starkville Municipal Separate School District. (Adams, Holmes)

June 5, 2015
24

NOTICE of Conference:Telephone Conference set for 7/1/2015 10:00 AM before District Judge Michael P. Mills. (spw)

June 30, 2015
27

Minute Entry for proceedings held before District Judge Michael P. Mills: Telephone Conference held on 7/1/2015. (spw) Modified on 7/13/2015 (dlh).

July 1, 2015
25

Joint MOTION TO APPROVE DESEGREGATION ORDER FOR CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL DISTRICT by Oktibbeha County School District, Starkville Municipal Separate School District, United States of America. (Adams, Holmes)

July 7, 2015
26

DESEGREGATION ORDER FOR THE CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL DISTRICT re 25 Joint MOTION TO APPROVE DESEGREGATION ORDER FOR CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL DISTRICT filed by Oktibbeha County School District, Starkville Municipal Separate School District, United States of America, 14 Joint MOTION to Approve Desegregation Order for Consolidated School Districts filed by Oktibbeha County School District, Starkville Municipal Separate School District. Signed by District Judge Michael P. Mills on 7/13/2015. (lpm) Modified on 7/13/2015 (lpm).

July 13, 2015
28

NOTICE by John Simeon Hooks on behalf of Starkville Municipal Separate School District of Filing of January 2016 Report to the Court (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A − Students by School/Classroom/Race (part 1), # 2 Exhibit A − Students by School/Classroom/Race (part 2), # 3 Exhibit A − Students by School/Classroom/Race (part 3), # 4 Exhibit B − Documents regarding MSU School, # 5 Exhibit C − Sign−in Sheet for Biracial Committee) (Hooks, John)

Jan. 12, 2016
29

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by Ceala Eloise Breen−Portnoy on behalf of United States of America (Breen−Portnoy, Ceala)

Jan. 15, 2016
30

STATUS REPORT Regarding Desegregation Order . (Hooks, John)

Feb. 12, 2016
31

ORDER ESTABLISHING FILING DEADLINES. Signed by District Judge Michael P. Mills on 2/25/2016. (lpm)

Feb. 25, 2016
32

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by Andrew Kuffel Jondahl on behalf of United States of America (Jondahl, Andrew)

Feb. 29, 2016
33

Joint MOTION to Approve Desegregation Order for Starkville−Oktibbeha Consolidated School District by Starkville Municipal Separate School District, United States of America. (Hooks, John)

March 2, 2016
35

NOTICE by John Simeon Hooks on behalf of Starkville Municipal Separate School District of June 2016 Report to Court (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A − Classroom enrollment by school (part 1), # 2 Exhibit A − Classroom enrollment by school (part 2), # 3 Exhibit A − Classroom enrollment by school (part 3), # 4 Exhibit A − Classroom enrollment by school (part 4), # 5 Exhibit A − Classroom enrollment by school (part 5), # 6 Exhibit A − Classroom enrollment by school (part 6), # 7 Exhibit A − Classroom enrollment by school (part 7), # 8 Exhibit A − Classroom enrollment by school (part 8), # 9 Exhibit A − Classroom enrollment by school (part 9), # 10 Exhibit A − Classroom enrollment by school (part 10), # 11 Exhibit A − Classroom enrollment by school (part 11), # 12 Exhibit A − Classroom enrollment by school (part 12), # 13 Exhibit A − Classroom enrollment by school (part 13), # 14 Exhibit A − Classroom enrollment by school (part 14), # 15 Exhibit A − Classroom enrollment by school (part 15 of 15), # 16 Exhibit B − MSU Partnership School, # 17 Exhibit C − Biracial Committee Minutes and Attendance) (Hooks, John)

June 22, 2016
36

NOTICE by John Simeon Hooks on behalf of Starkville Municipal Separate School District of June 2017 Report to the Court (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A − Classroom Enrollment, # 2 Exhibit B − Update on MSU Partnership School, # 3 Exhibit C − Minutes of Biracial Advisory Committee Meetings) (Hooks, John)

June 30, 2017

NOTICE OF CORRECTION: Disreqard filing, pages out of order re 36 Notice (Other), (tab)

June 30, 2017
37

NOTICE by John Simeon Hooks on behalf of Starkville Municipal Separate School District June 2017 Court Report (corrected) (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A − Classroom Enrollment, # 2 Exhibit B − Update on MSU Partnership School, # 3 Exhibit C − Minutes of Biracial Advisory Committee Meetings) (Hooks, John)

June 30, 2017
38

NOTICE by John Simeon Hooks on behalf of Starkville Municipal Separate School District of June 2018 Report to the Court (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A − Classroom enrollment 2017−18, # 2 Exhibit B − Partnership school, # 3 Exhibit C − Biracial Advisory Committee) (Hooks, John)

June 29, 2018
39

MOTION to Substitute Attorney by United States of America. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order) (Jondahl, Andrew)

July 3, 2018
40

Remark: Letter of Introduction for attorney Jadine Johnson as counsel for United States of America. (jtm)

March 4, 2019
41

ORDER granting 39 Motion to Substitute Attorney. Added attorney Frances Susan Cohen for United States of America. Attorney Andrew Kuffel Jondahl terminated. Signed by District Judge Michael P. Mills on 3/6/19. (jla)

March 6, 2019
42

MOTION to Withdraw as Attorney for the Oktibbeha County School District by Oktibbeha County School District. (Jones, Bennie)

March 6, 2019
43

MOTION to Withdraw as Attorney Victoria Lill McNamee by United States of America. (Cohen, Frances)

April 17, 2019

CLERK'S NOTICE OF CORRECTION re 43 MOTION to Withdraw as Attorney Victoria Lill McNamee : Attorney to refile with login of signing attorney. (jwr)

April 17, 2019
44

First MOTION to Withdraw as Attorney Victoria McNamee (Lill) by United States of America. (Cohen, Frances)

April 17, 2019
45

NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by Jadine Johnson on behalf of United States of America (Johnson, Jadine)

April 18, 2019
46

ORDER granting 44 Motion to Withdraw as Attorney. Attorney Victoria McNamee terminated. Signed by District Judge Michael P. Mills on 04/18/2019. (jwr)

April 18, 2019

State / Territory: Mississippi

Case Type(s):

School Desegregation

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 1, 1983

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Black students and their families residing in Starkville and Oktibbeha County, Mississippi.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Starkville Municipal Separate School District (Starkville, Oktibbeha), School District

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Elementary/Secondary School

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Amount Defendant Pays: $32,244.67

Order Duration: 1970 - None

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief denied

Busing

Student assignment

Discrimination Prohibition

Develop anti-discrimination policy

Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention

Reporting

Recordkeeping

Issues

General:

Buildings

Disparate Treatment

Education

Language access/needs

Racial segregation

Record-keeping

School/University Facilities

School/University policies

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Transportation

Discrimination-basis:

Race discrimination

Race:

Black

Type of Facility:

Government-run