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."