Boston student-assignment proposals released

Boston school officials this afternoon released details about three revised proposals to overhaul the way it assigns students to schools, as it seeks to create a system that allows more students to attend schools closer to their homes.

One proposal would create 10 different assignment zones that would divy up the city’s approximately 80 elementary and K-8 schools and its early childhood centers, which would offer between three and 14 school choices.

That would be a big break from the current system, which divides the city into three large assignment zones, with each offering about two dozen choices.

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The two other proposals would have no zones.Instead, parents would be able to apply to schools within a certain distance of their home. One of those proposals would guarantee at least six choices and the other would generate at least nine.

“All three models represent an improvement over the current system,” Superintendent Carol R. Johnson wrote in a letter to staff. “They better distribute the overall chances of a child attending a higher-quality school regardless of address; they are more predictable than the three-zone system, empowering families to get to know their school choices well in advance; they significantly decrease the average distance students would travel to school; and they would continue to support the diverse school communities we believe benefit student learning.”

The proposals were posted on the School Department’s website.

School officials will formally present them tomorrow night to the External Advisory Committee, which was appointed by Mayor Thomas M. Menino last year to review and recommend changes to Boston’s more than two-decade-old student-assignment system.

The advisory committee could vote on its recommendations next month, which would then require approval from the School Committee to be implemented.

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