281’s Boundaries and Segregation

It was nice to see the RSD board room overflowing with concerned citizens January 20 (we attended and watched the proceedings live). The board voted 6-1 in favor of the K-5 option (Tom Walsh supported the K-6 option).

Some of the comments reported at the MN SunPost caught our eye:

Two-dozen people spoke during the public hearing preceding the Jan. 20 school board meeting. Many urged the board to disrupt the fewest number of students and schools possible. Others spoke to the needs of special education students, minorities and youngsters who are living in poverty.

Debbie Shapiro of Plymouth said the K-5 plan retains two unrenovated elementary schools (Northport in Brooklyn Center and Lakeview in Robbinsdale) and “further segregates the district” in racial and socio-economic ways.

“Somewhere in the process the vision has been lost,” she said.

We agree that closing schools was necessary, and appreciate the board adding another forum for citizens to speak. However, the segregation issue will need to be addressed with the new boundaries. A concerned staffer sent us this e-mail response from the District:

Demographic balance is not occurring at our schools now, and was not considered a criterion for the facilities study. For example, our elementary schools now range in minority enrollment from approximately 15% to 70%. The district’s current Desegregation Plan uses two strategies to address equity issues: The use of boundaries and busing, and strengthening higher poverty/minority schools through equity initiatives. These strategies would continue to be used in the future.

The staffer wondered if we should take this to mean they don’t really care about the boundaries they have drawn. How can they keep busing as one of their “fixes” if they are cutting the costs of busing across district? We will keep a close watch on this issue and how the board handles it.

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2 Responses to “281’s Boundaries and Segregation”

  1. give2attain Says:

    I actually agree with you on this one. The primary purpose of selecting the K-5 option was to ensure all neighborhoods had a school. This was to support equity within the district, and to ensure the kids would not to be on the bus more than 2 to 3 miles. Hopefully the needs of the all students can be met without manipulating the boundaries or creating extra bus time.

    The upside of the less diverse schools is that they will be assured extra funding from the State and Federal governments. And as usual, I hope some of the retirees and other citizens in these communitees see their way to volunteering more in the schools. If we want community schools, let’s get out and make time for the kids.

  2. give2attain Says:

    Thought you may appreciate this link and commentary….Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round

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