D.C. to release refined set of school boundary recommendations

Two months ago, D.C. officials released three politically charged proposals to overhaul the city’s school boundaries and student-assignment policies, setting off vigorous debate about the future of the city’s neighborhood schools.

Now, after considering volumes of community feedback, officials in the Office of the Deputy Mayor of Education say they are set to release a refined set of draft recommendations late during the week of June 9. They will be available online and announced to families through their schools as well as on Twitter and via e-mail to those who attended the previous round of community meetings in April.

Parents and community members will have a chance to react at three public meetings scheduled the following week. Unlike previously, parents at these meetings will not only hear about citywide policy proposals but also will break out into groups to discuss the effects of the recommendations on specific schools and neighborhoods, according to a flier slated to go out to parents starting today.

All meetings are from 6-8 p.m. Here are the dates and places:

●Monday, June 16, at Savoy Elementary, with breakout groups for Anacostia, Ballou and Woodson feeder patterns.

●Tuesday, June 17, at Dunbar High, with breakout groups for Dunbar, Cardozo and Eastern feeder patterns.

●Thursday, June 19, at Takoma Education Campus, with breakout groups for Coolidge, Roosevelt and Wilson feeder patterns.

Deputy Mayor for Education Abigail Smith has said that the community advisory group that is working on new boundaries will use the feedback collected at these meetings to develop a final set of recommendations.

Those recommendations will go to Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) this summer, and Gray is expected to announce his final decisions in September. However, since the recommendations would not go into effect until fall 2015, how much of Gray’s plan is adopted is really up to his successor — at this point, either Democratic nominee Muriel Bowser or independent David Catania, both City Council members.

Catania and Bowser have both said that they would not adopt any of the three proposals that are on the table so far.

Emma Brown writes about D.C. education and about people with a stake in schools, including teachers, parents and kids.
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