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Reading School Committee Votes No Change on Redistricting

The School Committee voted 5-0 Monday night.

The School Committee voted on the middle school redistricting proposal Monday night. According to Superintendent John Doherty, the committee voted 5-0, as one member was not present, to keep the existing lines.

The committee had been considering changing the district lines for the Coolidge and Parker Middle Schools since October. At first, the committee considered a two-part redistricting proposal: sending all Birch Meadow students to Coolidge, including the 7 to 13 students now districted to Parker; and increasing the number of Killam students who are assigned to Parker by between five and 15 students each year, over the next six years, based on current enrollment. That change would have reduced the percentage of Killam-to-Coolidge students from between 40 and 44 percent of their entire class to between 25 and 33 percent. However, after receiving negative feedback from Killam parents, Doherty recommended that the committee explore other options.

After coming up with several other options, the committee voted to keep the existing lines in place, which was one of Doherty's two reccomendations.

The only new change affects the one-for-one swap that the school system has always had in place, Doherty said. If parents want to request that a child attend a different school, they would have to do so in writing. If a student requests to go to Parker, then another student would also have to request to go to Coolidge for the swap to be possible. Priority for the one-for-one swap will now go to families south of Lowell Street.  

There are three issues that still need to be addressed and there is a longer term plan that the committee is looking at, Doherty said. 

  1. How to redistrict the section of Birch Meadow back to Barrows.
  2. Special Education programs and how they transition into the correct middle schools. 
  3. The kindergarten and preschool space issues. 

"My hope is that I will have a long term proposal after the first of the year," Doherty said.

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