A task force exploring options for a new student-assignment policy in Boston recommended last week pro viding more opportunities for children to attend schools in their neighborhoods.
Leaders of the 60,000-student Boston public school system convened the 14-member panel of educators, civic leaders, and parents to study alternatives to Boston’s assignment plan in the face of rising expenses. The district spent $55 million out of its $646 million budget last year on busing. (“Assignment Debate Stirs Emotions in Boston,” June 16, 2004.)
The panel has held more than a dozen community meetings throughout the city since January to hear parents’ concerns.
The task force recommended on Sept. 22, among other steps, that the city’s school committee double the number of elementary school attendance zones from three to six so that more students could attend schools closer to home.
Boston’s “controlled choice” approach for elementary and middle schools sets aside up to half the seats in a school for students who live close enough to walk. The remaining seats are filled by students who live outside the neighborhood zone.
More community meetings will be held this fall before changes take effect in the 2005-06 school year.