School attendance zones throughout Bossier Parish will soon be submitted to federal court due to a long-standing school desegregation case. The plan, proposed to be implemented for the school year 2020-21, is now available for public review and comment.
The United States Department of Justice ordered all school attendance zones in Bossier Parish be re-examined and a joint proposal submitted by March 1, 2019 to revise the existing school attendance zones.
In the absence of an agreement on those zones, both the school board and the Department of Justice would be required to submit its own proposal to the Court for consideration on or before April 1, 2019.
By agreement of the parties, the Court delayed those dates to September 16, 2019 and October 16, 2019, respectively. The new student assignment plan approved by the Court will not be implemented until the 2020-21 school year.
The Bossier Parish School Board is seeking public comment on the new attendance zones at 6:00 p.m. at its Aug. 15, 2019 meeting at Bossier Instructional Center, located at 2719 Airline Drive in Bossier City.
In a statement released Monday, the Bossier Parish School Board, outlined the procedures used to implement the new attendance zones:
“Attorneys and demographers retained by the Bossier Parish School Board began their review of existing school attendance zones in the fall of 2018 and began working on a student assignment plan that would do the following:
- Maximize racial diversity in the schools to the extent practicable.
- Minimize the use of temporary buildings wherever possible.
- Reduce student transportation times and distances where possible.
- Eliminate split school zones to create a pure feeder pattern for all students; and
- Anticipate future demographic changes in determining student capacities within the schools.”
“They have completed their work on a plan that accomplishes all of those goals and representatives of the Department of Justice have tentatively accepted the plan as presented,” the statement said.
Attorney Bob Hammonds and demographer Mike Hefner will make a presentation plan they have drafted at the Aug. 15 school board meeting.
“Because the court-ordered date of submission for such plan is fast approaching, the school board may take action on the proposal that night,” the statement added.
The zone attendance proposal consists of three maps showing the proposed elementary, middle and high school zones:
The school board noted that “all students living in a particular elementary school attendance zone will matriculate together to the same middle school and that all students attending that middle school will advance together to the same high school.”
This ‘feeder pattern plan’ eliminates the need to separate students at the middle or high school levels as has occurred in certain parts of the parish under the existing plan and, for the first time, will unify students from the time they enter kindergarten to the time they graduate, the notice added.