23 Aug 2014
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LETTER: The Real Impact of Buffer Zones

Arlington resident Dan Petrie, of Buffer Zone H, prefers open enrollment/incentives to buffer zones when it comes to redistricting in Arlington.

The presentation above was submitted by Arlington resident Dan Petrie, of Buffer Zone H. The following is an explanation by Petrie of his presentation.

I did some what-if analysis on the proposed buffer zones to see what the result would be using some real student population numbers. The School Committee, Redistricting Committee nor the administration has tested these proposed buffer-zone changes to see what the results would be with real numbers, or at least they have not published any.

I think that many people do not realize how wide spread the impact is. I think that many people think only a few people in a buffer zone will get moved.

The School Committee is trying to promote this as giving people a choice. On the contrary, large numbers of students will be forced to move out of the school district that they chose when they rented or bought their home in order for the school administration to reduce over capacity at Dallin, Brackett and Bishop schools and the target capacity committed to the state for the Thompson school.

Above are slides illustrating the minimum change that would be required using the student numbers and target capacity provided by the administration for the 2011-2012 school year. This does not even take into consideration the complexity of other constraints such as grandfathering.

I advocate not changing the school district lines at all and instead using open enrollment and creating incentives to have families volunteer to open enroll their kids in the under capacity schools. This impacts the absolute minimum number of students and families and does not force anyone to move their kids.

Dan Petrie
3 Plymouth St.

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