BPS Officials Unveil New School Choice Plan

By Andrea Smardon

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Apr. 14, 2011

BOSTON — Boston school officials are presenting a new plan that would change the way students are assigned to schools. The proposed overhaul, announced at a school committee meeting on Wednesday, is intended to simplify the process for parents and to save money on busing.

It comes less than two years after district officials abandoned a plan to reform how students are assigned to schools. When Superintendent Carol Johnson unveiled a proposal in 2009 to change school assignment zones, there was no public process leading up to the plan, and it was dropped amid intense opposition from parents.

This time, school officials say they're doing it differently. On Wednesday night, district leaders laid out a new 18-month plan that will involve input from parents and others.

The proposal has two phases of recommendations. The first phase would focus on simplifying and easing the school registration process for parents. The second, more controversial, phase would redesign how students are assigned to schools.  

This may mean reducing the number of schools parents can choose from in order to cut back on the cost of busing. It's a contentious move, since some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods have the lowest performing schools.  

School officials say public meetings on developing a new school choice plan will start next month. 

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