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The U.S. Supreme Court today struck down the ethnic integration policies of two school districts, in one of its few decisions since Brown v. Board of Education specifically addressed the issue. The decision looked at policies designed to address the natural segregation of students as a result of housing patterns, not outright discrimination.

A spokesman for San Diego Unified School District, which spends millions of dollars each year on integration efforts, said it has yet to review the decision and could not comment on whether it would affect the district’s policies.

In 1977, a San Diego Superior Court judge ordered the city’s school system to integrate 23 inner-city schools. In recent years, these efforts have taken the form of voluntary busing for students interested in attending school outside of their neighborhood.

The district spends about $30 million a year on busing, and about half of that goes to pay for the racial integration program. The school system has recently been looking for ways to reduce the total cost of its busing programs.


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