In a surprise twist to Chicago’s 24-year-old desegregation battle, a federal judge ruled Tuesday that school officials must find seats in substantially white schools and offer them to black and Latino students by Dec. 17.
U.S. District Judge Charles P. Kocoras also ruled that some white students who transferred into the white schools this year but live outside the neighborhood may have to leave next fall to make room for black and Latino students. Chicago school officials said 41 kindergartners may be affected.
And the judge ruled that the district must reallocate some of the money it spends on desegregation to spend more on students in racially isolated schools.
The ruling was a victory for U.S. Department of Justice attorneys, who said the nation’s third largest school district violated the latest version of its desegregation agreement by not offering any racial transfers this year to improve integration. And it was a slap at Chicago Public Schools, which has insisted it was doing all it could to promote integration, but had no room to accommodate more minority students in the white schools.