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Boston Officials Release Student-Assignment Proposals

BOSTON — Boston Public Schools officials have unveiled three proposals to overhaul how students are assigned to schools in the city.

One plan would divide the city into 10 assignment zones, rather than the current three-zone system. The two other plans call for no zones, and families would apply to schools within a certain distance of their homes.

School officials say all three proposals would increase access to neighborhood schools. Critics say the primary focus should be on improving overall school quality.

“The concern continues to be that there just isn’t enough of quality schools to go around,” said Kim Janey, senior project director of Massachusetts Advocates for Children. “And so it’s really important to have a plan that ensures equitable access to quality.”

Boston Public Schools spokesman Matt Wilder says the proposals address the issue of families having too many choices, which can lead to students ending up schools far from home.

“You can live in South Boston and your child can attend school in Allston-Brighton,” Wilder said. “It just doesn’t work for the families in this city.”

An external advisory committee, appointed by Mayor Thomas Menino, could make a final recommendation to the school committee next month.

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