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State Board Approves Groton's Racial Balance Plan

Groton's redistricting plan, which takes effect in the 2013-14 school year, will move 370 students.

The State Board of Education has unanimously approved Groton's plan to correct racial imbalance in its public schools.

Interim Superintendent John Ramos presented Groton's elementary redistricting plan to the state board on Feb. 6. The plan, adopted by the Groton school board on Jan. 7, shifts nine boundaries between schools, moves 370 children in kindergarten through grade 4, and affects six of the district's seven elementary schools.

The plan would relieve crowding at Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School and correct racial imbalance for five years, according to documents presented by Ramos.

The minority population at Catherine Kolnaski was 69.9 percent in 2011, compared to a district average of 41.2 percent. A school is considered out of balance if the minority population is 25 percent higher or lower than the district average for that grade.

Groton has had a long struggle with racial imbalance at the magnet school. The district was first cited for an imbalance in April 2004, submitted a plan to correct the imbalance in 2005 and amended its plan in 2007 and 2010.

But the school continued to have an issue. Groton tried to attract students by making Catherine Kolnaski a magent school with the themes of art, health, wellness and technology, but "this plan has not had a substantial impact on the racial imbalance at the school," according to a memo by Laura Anastasio, a lawyer with the state department of education.

Anastasio said that in addition to Catherine Kolnaski Magnet, four other schools in Groton have pending imbalances: Cutler Middle School, West Side Middle School, S.B. Butler Elementary and Claude Chester Elementary.

A school is considered to have a pending imbalance if its minority population is 15 percent higher or lower than the district average for that grade. The minority population at Cutler is 18.8 percent, and West Side has a minority population of 56.7 percent, compared to a district average of 37.2 percent for those grades.

The minority population at S.B. Butler is 19.9 percent and the minority population at Claude Chester is 60.2 percent, compared to a district average of 41.2 percent.

The memo said the state will continue to watch what happens in Groton.

"This review will include annual monitoring to determine the Groton board's progress in its plan to eliminate racial imbalance," the memo said.

"If the (state board of education) finds that the actions of the Groton board are not in conformity with the timetable submitted in the plan or if the Groton board does not take substantial steps to implement the plan or fails to make sufficient progress, the (state board of education) may take further action to compel compliance."

Steve Garmon February 11, 2013 at 08:22 PM
Next thing we'll know, the state will dictate where we can and can't live because it will unbalance the racial balance laws! What a way to run a state government. Leave the towns alone and let them educate the children as they are being paid to do.Some people live close to the school they want their kids to go to because of the educators and not the political BS! Maybe test scores would be alot better if we stopped this shuffling of kids from school to school to perfect the racial imbalance the politicians make money off of. If it didn't cost the town money to make these moves, fine. But, $666,000.00 in busing fees to meet the criteria, let the state pay the full amount.
Upset February 11, 2013 at 08:30 PM
If we waved a magic wand and balanced the racial imbalance issue we are still dealing with OVERCROWDING in the schools, and that is the bigger issue here. So with thismove we have tried to address 2 issues at the same time. Try to look at it from that point of view. The overcrowded schools are trying to do more with what they have and it is unfair. By better matching resources and student we can create a better school system. Keeping the system as it is put more students in jeopardy of falling through the cracks and potentially dropping out of school.....to do what? what will Groton look like if we create drop-out factories?
fed up February 11, 2013 at 09:26 PM
Can someone please look into "school choice". Excuse me for being frank, but there are white children that should go to kola ski who go to other schools due to school choice. There are also many, many children who use "babysitter addresses", simply to go to a more desirable school. We have children that live in other towns who are using addresses that are not there's to enroll their children in our schools. You will never fix the racial problem if you have people scamming their way into their chosen schools! Open your eyes!
Bartlett February 12, 2013 at 10:08 AM
The same comments were common in the 60's and 70's. Looks like Groton residents are still living in the past. People here are suggesting that segregation is OK because it costs money. Please read Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.
augie42 February 12, 2013 at 11:22 PM
To a mis-guided Bartlett, this is not segregation. Segregation is an absolute. Racial imbalance is small percentages. Get with the times.

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