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8181 1 of 2

NEW CASTLE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT

The New Castle County School District was created by the U.S. District Court as a result of its decision in the Evans vs. Buchanan school desegregation case. In an attempt to reverse the racial imbalance in the predominately black schools of Wilmington and the predominately white suburban schools of New Castle County, the court ordered in January 1978 that Alfred I. duPont, Alexis I. duPont, Claymont, Conrad, De La Warr, Marshallton-McKean, Mount Pleasant, New Castle-Gunning Bedford, Newark, Stanton, and Wilmington school districts be formed into one district.1

The court order established a school board, called the New Castle County Board of Education, which was comprised of five members. Members were to serve a five year term with one member elected each year. Annual elections began in 1980. The Board was given the power to approve employment of administrative staff and to extend or modify employee contracts. Key administrative staff appointed by the Board included Superintendent of Schools; Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent; Duputy Superintendents for Instructional Services, Administrative Services, and Area Administration; and Attendance Area Superintendents.2

The District Court also ordered the Board to implement a pupil assignment plan that reassigned for nine years all students from predominantly black districts (Wilmington and De La Warr) to the predominatly white districts. Conversely, all students from the white districts were required to attend school in black districts for three consecutive years. The Board was required to provide inservice training for teachers, administrators, and other staff to prepare them for the desegregation process.3

In a 1978 review of the District Court’s order, the U.S. Circuit Court urged the State to submit its own plan to organize the desegregation of New Castle County schools.4 Legislation passed in 1980 permitted the State Board of Education to divide the New Castle County School District into smaller districts.5 The plan submitted the State Board of Education created four districts, Brandywine, Christina, Colonial, and Red Clay, that were racially balanced and consistant with the Court’s pupil assignment plan.6 It was also seen that the smaller districts would be easier to manage and be more responsive to the local community.7 The four new districts officially took over the responsibilities of the New Castle County School District on July 1, 1981.8

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NEW CASTLE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT

1 Opinion and Order in the Case of Evans vs. Buchanan, U.S. District Court, 1978. Del Doc # 95-01/78/01/14.

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

4 “Educationally Speaking,” Department of Public Instruction, December 1980. Del Doc # 95-01/80/12/4.

5 62 DL, ch. 351.

6 63 DL, ch. 16. “A Plan for the Division of New Castle County School District into Four School Districts,” Department of Public Instruction, September 18, 1980. Del Doc # 95-01/80/08/12.

7 “News of Delaware Schools,” Department of Public Instruction, December 1980. Del Doc # 95-01/80/12/1.

8 “Board Highlights,” Department of Public Instruction, September 18, 1980. Del Doc # 95-01/80/09/11.