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School Committee Unanimously Adopts Grade One Assignment Plan

If necessary, a cap and lottery system will be applied to the grade one French Immersion program beginning in the 2013-2014 School Year.

The Milton School Committee unanimously accepted a proposal by Superintendent Mary Gormley to institute a cap and lottery system on the first grade French Immersion program at a meeting on Wednesday, October 17.

The cap on French Immersion will not grandfather in incoming kindergarteners that have siblings in the program.

The proposed lottery/capping plan for grade one French Immersion will be implemented for the 2013-2014 School Year. The cap for next year would be a maximum of 182 French students with seven full classes of 26 students. The breakdown includes two classes at Glover School, two at Collicot, one at Tucker School and, with full interest in enrollment, two at Cunningham School.

The lottery system will only go into effect if after all English classes are filled with a minimum of 18 students and then the French classes reach a maximum of 26 students.

School Committee member Leroy Walker proposed a one-year exception be given to allow next year’s first graders to follow siblings into French.

“I am torn on sibling preference,” Walker said.

While other members agreed with Walker’s sentiment, the suggestion was ultimately not adopted.

The decision came before an audience of more than 50 residents on Wednesday night. Over 10 parents addressed the committee before they discussed the proposal for about an hour and a half.

On Tuesday evening, a three and a half hour public information meeting was held on the same subject. The meeting, which took place in the Milton High School auditorium, featured 44 different speakers and some answers from the committee.

The motion on Wednesday was to adopt Gormley’s proposal, but an exact policy still needs to be drafted and approved.

“We’re agreeing on a principle that needs to be translated into a policy,” member Mary Kelly said.

The policy sub-committee will draft the official policy to be agreed upon by the School Committee.

Chair Glenn Pavlicek clarified that the policy vote, which will likely occur in early November, will not be on the plan, but on the language of the policy.

The School Committee would need a two-thirds vote to reconsider the vote and reverse Wednesday’s decision.

How do you feel about the School Committee’s decision? Tell us in the comments.

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