School Committee Passes Final Desegregation Plan

By a vote of five-to-two, the Cambridge School Committee last night passed the final phase of its desegregation plan, including provisions calling for the pairing of the Kennedy and Roberts Schools and prohibiting the laying-off "qualified" minority staff and faculty, despite projected cutbacks due to Proposition 2 1/2.

However, the president of the Cambridge Teachers' Association (CTA), Roland E. Lachance, said last night that the CTA would take the school committee before the state Labor Relations Board and then to court because the plan's minority staffing clause violates the CTA's contract by rejecting seniority in deciding who will be laid-off.

The plan now goes to the state Bureau of Equal Education Opportunity (BEEO) for final approval. In a letter to Cambridge Mayor Francis H. Duehay '55, the BEEO's director, Charles L. Glenn, said BEEO would pass the plan at its meeting on March 24, Early approval would allow Cambridge to look for funds to help implement the plan.

A group of parents at the meeting with children in the Kennedy School said they would withdraw their children from the public schools rather than have them attend the Roberts School. Under the desegregation plan approved last night, grades K-4 would attend the Roberts School, while grades 5-8 would attend Kennedy. The Kennedy School is predominantly white, while the Roberts School is largely Black.

If teachers are laid-off according to seniority, then minority teachers will be the first to be laid-off because many have the least seniority, in the school system, Superintendent of Schools William A. Lannon said last night. Lannon said he is "adamant" that the percentage of minority faculty and staff in the school department reflect the percentage of minorities in the Cambridge population.


Budget cuts proposed by President Reagan would prevent the schools from implementing programs necessary to integrate the schools fully, Duehay said last night. He added that such budget cuts would so lower the quality of education that "it would destroy public education as we know it.