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Consultant, parents discuss future of CPS redistricting

Columbia Board of Education hears redistricting presentation

Proposals for new middle and high school attendance areas will be released on Dec. 20.

Scott Leopold, a consultant with Cooperative Strategies hired by CPS, said their plans for new attendance areas would involve 10-year enrollment data and feedback from several focus groups over the next two months.

A new middle school in southwest Columbia will force the district to redraw attendance lines for secondary education. The board plans to approve the new boundary lines by the end of this school year, and will take effect at the start of the 2020-21 school year.

Leopold spoke in front with board members in front of him and two dozen interested parents behind him. Many of those parents called on the board before Leopold's presentation to consider policies allowing high school students affected by the changes to stay at the school they started at, called "grandfathering." Many parents said uprooting their children from one school to another would hurt their children's mental health and performance at school.

Leopold said he could calculate several scenarios that keep students at their current high school. He said those policies can sometimes be costly, since inefficient bus transportation and school overcrowding can result. The school district in Ft. Bend, Texas. implemented a similar grandfathering process and spent $4 million over five years on transportation costs.


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