School board approves diversity plan in wake of charter school questions

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 10:13pm

School board members gave their blessing to a new diversity plan crafted in the aftermath of confusion over standards the district wanted to hold a charter school to.

The plan offers non-binding goals for diversity by race and ethnicity, income level, native language and special needs to be applied and encouraged district-wide.

“We are a diverse school system. It’s important for us to embrace that fact,” said Jesse Register, the district’s director of schools.

Half of schools in the district currently meet the plan’s definition of diversity, according to Register. Of MNPS’s 133 schools, 67 meet the diversity goals, 52 enroll a student body with no one majority group and 54 schools have staff considered diverse.

The diversity plan calls for schools to have no single race or ethnicity make up more than 50 percent of their student body. It also calls for schools be home to at least two thirds low-income students, non-native English speakers or special needs students.

Register said no school will be closed for not meeting the diversity goals.

Diversity became an issue last fall as it was in denying Great Hearts Academies charter school application for transportation and diversity concerns.

How the policy will be exercised and communicated to charter schools applying to enter the school district next year is still to be decided, said Register.

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