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CMS Board To Consider Expanding Magnet Schools

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CMS may offer more seats in magnet schools next year.  Several school board members say they’re in favor of that. 

Twenty-thousand CMS students attend magnet schools.  These are schools offering different curricula like Montessori or focusing on the arts or sciences.  That number has held steady for several years now as wait lists for them have grown.

Some board members want to provide that option to more students by expanding the programs where they’re offered and creating magnet programs within existing schools.     

School board member Eric Davis says expanding popular magnets is also a good way to compete with charter schools. 

The discussions come at a time when the CMS board is reviewing its policies on how the district assigns students to schools. The board will have to decide whether minimizing high concentrations of poverty should be a priority. Board member Ruby Jones says expanding magnets are one way to get at this.    

“It has the possibility of getting diverse schools through choice, instead of forced integration of learners,” says Jones.  

She’d also like to see the district do away with shuttle stops for magnets and, instead, provide transportation from bus stops near students’ homes like CMS used to do. The district stopped doing that to save money during the recession. 

Superintendent Ann Clark plans to present her proposals for magnets at the school board meeting on October 13.