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Portland Public Schools consider proposal to limit high school selection

If passed, students will get to rank their preferences. If enrollment appears unbalanced, staff would then use a lottery system to reassign students between schools.

PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland Public Schools District is considering a proposal to limit high school choice to balance its enrollment and ensure diversity. 

Superintendent Xavier Botana presented the proposal to the Board of Education Tuesday night. 

In the past, students have been able to choose between attending Portland and Deering high schools, or enter a lottery to attend Casco Bay High School. 

As a result, Portland and Deering high schools have struggled with swings in enrollment. This has caused problems like the need for staff to switch between schools to keep up with enrollment. 

Now, the Portland Public School District will reconsider absolute choice when it comes to high school selection.

If passed, students will get to rank their preferences. Then, if enrollment numbers appear unbalanced, staff would then use a lottery system to reassign students between the schools.

Botana said Tuesday night it would alleviate staffing issues and help further equality across the district.

"I think the data shows that our schools are becoming increasingly segregated," he said. "Students with diversity factors and no diversity factors at our three schools and you can see that they're very different between Portland High School and Deering High School. You know that is in fact segregation."

If passed, the change would impact next year's incoming freshman class. 

A public hearing is set for Sept. 6 before a final vote later in the month.

   

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