SF school board postpones vote on school assignment policy 

The San Francisco Unified School District will not alter its school-assignment policy -- at least not until later in the school year.

It's no secret that the district wants its more than 100 schools to be more racially and socioeconomically integrated. But exactly how to achieve that goal is being studied by the Board of Education, which is considering whether one solution is to rearrange the school-assignment process, board President Sandra Fewer said Monday.

The board was slated to vote tonight on a resolution authored by Fewer and board member Rachel Norton that would have modified the hierarchy of preferences for the district's student-assignment policy, giving students assigned to a school's attendance area due to residency a higher priority for kindergarten enrollment than those in areas with the lowest test scores, known as census tracts, effective for the next school year.

But Fewer and Norton last week agreed to postpone the vote until later in the school year after other board members requested looking into additional data such as demographics and income.

Fewer said urban-planning data, for instance, will show how housing patterns have changed in census tract areas. Such data could indicate that low- to moderate-income families may no longer be able to afford to live in such neighborhoods, and therefore census tract priorities may not effectively disperse students throughout The City.

"San Francisco demographics are changing so quickly," Fewer said. "It's hard to set policy unless we have current demographic information."

Tonight, however, the board will vote on a temporary student-assignment policy for Willie L. Brown Jr., Middle School, which is scheduled to open next August. The policy would ensure Willie Brown is not a receiving school from feeder elementary schools for its first two years, but that priority is given to students from some schools in the neighborhood.

This article has been updated from the original version

About The Author

Laura Dudnick

Laura Dudnick, a Bay Area native, covers education and planning for The San Francisco Examiner. She previously worked as a senior local editor for Patch.com, and as the San Mateo County bureau reporter and weekend editor for Bay City News Service.
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