School assignment timeline remains unknown 

No one really expected any decisions to come out of the latest meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment meeting, but it has again left the timeline for the controversial lottery system’s replacement ambiguous.

The committee was first presented with three alternatives to the system, but no one was too thrilled with them, Commissioner Rachel Norton said.[end hyperlink]

So at Monday’s meeting, the commissioners looked at three more options. Norton described them in her blog as follows:

“Option 1: Local (”neighborhood”) school assignment with city-wide schools;

Option 2: Local assignment with wider choice (parents are guaranteed local school assignment or can submit choices for city-wide attendance area schools and schools in other attendance areas);

Option 3: The zone concept from last month’s meeting. The researchers and staff members did not simulate it, because up to now they have not come up with a way of doing so that would be in any way predictive or instructive (our current system is so different that it is almost impossible to juxtapose the choices parents make under the current system with choices they might make under such a radically different system).

Option 4: Choice with local preference (students are assigned primarily by choice with preference for those who live in a school’s assignment area) — this and the next two options are new additions since the Sept. 14 meeting;

Option 5: Choice with academic preference (students are assigned primarily by choice with preference for students who live near/attend a school with a low Academic Performance Index (API);

Option 6: Choice with academic and local preference (students are assigned primarily by choice with a preference for students who live near/attend a school with a low API, followed by a preference for students who live in the attendance area.”

The commissioners had a chance to hear about the options and ask questions, but did not draw any conclusions.

Norton’s goal is to have a policy in place for the spring, but she said “I think we still have a lot of work to do.’’

The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 16.

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Kamala Kelkar

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