Buses rolled without incident, attendance was good and police reported no trouble yesterday in the quietest opening day of school here since court-ordered busing began in 1975.
Officials reported none of the violence that accompanied the first two years of integration of the nation's 18th largest school system, the first in which students from inner city and suburban schools were bused for desegregation.
Most buses ran on schedule. A light drizzle fell as they picked up children in the predawn darkness.
A small group of protesters gathered about 9 a.m. - after bus runs were finished and school had started - across the street from Valley High School in southern Jefferson County. They carried antibusing signs and waved flags in an orderly protest.
But Jefferson County Police Chief Russell McDaniel said, "everything has gone very smoothly."
Figures on attendance were not immediately available. But officials predicted first-day turnout of 95,000 to 100,000 of an anticipated total of 113,000 students.
About 25,000 of the Jefferson County system's students are black. The desegregation plan involves busing of about 20,000 students, about half of them black. About 580 buses serve the system's 160 schools.
Meanwhile, schools in Ohio begin reopening next week with officials in five cities facing charges that their classrooms remain racially segregated.
The NAACP, a party to suits in districts in Dayton, Cleveland, Columbus, Youngstown and Cincinnati, says it isn't pleased with results so far in its effort to desegregate the schools.