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Board approves Minneapolis Public Schools redistricting plan

The "Comprehensive District Design" passed Tuesday evening in a 6-3 vote and will be go into effect in 2021 and 2022.

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education voted to approve the "Comprehensive District Design," which was introduced earlier this year.

The Board hosted a virtual meeting that opened with voicemails of parents, students and faculty members expressing their opinions – both for and against the district's proposal – before the board made their vote.

Votes were cast for a 6-3 outcome in favor of the redistricting plan. 

The plan, which had been in the works since December of 2017, intends to improve racial equity, close the achievement gap, desegregate school buildings, reduce concentrations of poverty and boost enrollments in places like North Minneapolis.

The new redistricting plan will go into effect in 2021 and 2022.

"This is an urgent conversation, one that's been needed for many, many years," superintendent Ed Graff said during that listening session. "When two-thirds of your population are students of color, and they're not getting those needs met, it's time to do things differently." 

The proposal received plenty of pushback from parents and teachers who say they've been provided very little proof that the plan will indeed help close the achievement gap, while ultimately moving thousands of students as a result of the boundary changes. One study estimated that as many as 63% of K-8 students might change schools under new boundaries, but the latest proposal dropped that estimate to 15%.

"The gap between white and non-white students is really wide," Abdullahi Abdi, a parent of five children in the Minneapolis Public Schools and a member of the Somali Parent Advisory Council said during January's listening session. "The current model is not serving anybody."

Another issue frequently brought up during Tuesday's nearly 2½ hour public comment session was the timing of the vote. Many expressed concerns about making such a major change in the midst of a global pandemic.

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