Consultants give racial imbalance presentation to the Fairfield BOE
FAIRFIELD — Milone and MacBroom Inc., the consulting firm hired to come up with solutions regarding racial imbalance in Fairfield Public Schools, gave a presentation to the Board of Education during its Feb. 11 meeting.
Michael Zuba, MMI’s director of planning, said the scenario planning is still at the conceptual level and none of the ideas were set in stone. Zuba presented four scenarios they came up with to address the issues. All the scenarios presented including some form of redistrcting.
BOE Chairwoman Christine Vitale said the presentation was a continuation of the board’s goal to address racial imbalance in the district and other issues including school capacity.
“We asked (the consultants) to work out a few redistricting scenarios to meet our goals as well as give us updated 10-year projections,” Vitale said.
Fairfield Public Schools has a racial imbalance issue violating state laws, where there are more minority students at McKinley Elementary School than the overall balance of the entire district. They’ve been charged with changing this since 2007.
In 2018, the board set themselves the goal of resolving the issue by last June, but failed to do so. A report published by the state last year found McKinely School had a minority population of 55.48 percent out of a total of 438 students, while the district as a whole has a 25.63 percent minority population with 4,160 students, a number that includes “all students in schools, programs and out-place facilities.”
According to the report, a district is racially imbalanced when “the proportion of minority students for any school exceeds 25 percentage points more than the comparable proportion for the school district.”
The first plan Zuba presented included re-purposing Jennings Elementary School as the Early Childhood Center. Zuba said this plan would see Jennings become the district-wide Pre-K school, with all pre-K students going there.
In a second scenario, Zuba said they would use “pocket redistricting,” or moving a small group of students from one school to another. A third proposal saw pocket redistricting and moving some pre-K classrooms to Holland Hill and North Stratfield Elementary Schools.
The last concept saw six pre-K classrooms remain at Fairfield Warde High School and two each moved to North Stratfield and Holland Hill.