D.C.P.S. Seeks to Reformat School Boundaries

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    A plan to change school district boundaries is upsetting some parents in the District. News4's Derrick Ward reports on what's behind the change.

    D.C. has released a preliminary proposal on new school boundaries that would have a significant effect on Alice Deal Middle School and Woodrow Wilson High School, two of the most sought-after schools in the city.

    Families whose addresses correspond to those schools could be cut out because the new proposed zones are smaller. Additionally, some areas that don't currently feed students into Wilson would begin doing so under the proposed plan.

    If the plan is implemented, it would begin with the 2015-16 school year.

    School officials say they haven't done a comprehensive review of school boundaries since 1968. Shifts in population and demographics have led to overcrowding in some schools and have left others under capacity.

    Adjusting the boundaries as proposed would also lower the student/teacher ratio, officials say.

    The plan would also reopen some closed schools to account for population growth and travel hardships. School officials want to invest more in neighborhood schools to slow the exodus to charter and private schools.

    That's especially been a problem for D.C.P.S. at the middle school level. Students tend to leave the public school system after they complete elementary school, the Washington Post has reported.

    Officials will hold at least three public meetings before the plan would be put into place, but the implications could far-reaching. Many home buyers -- even those who don't have kids of their own -- strongly consider school zones before buying or renting a home, so the local real estate market could see a drastic change as well.

    The report released Thursday acknowledged that the suggested boundaries may upset some parents:

    "Throughout this process, community members expressed their frustration with a process primarily focused on student assignment rather than on school improvement. We understand this frustration, and we are basing our recommendations on the overwhelming input from parents and residents that families want a citywide system of neighborhood public schools that is invested in equitably and that provides predictable and fair access to high quality schools in communities everywhere in this city."

    The city's school-age population is expected to grow by nearly 50 percent by 2022.


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