Public Meeting at LM High School Tonight

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Hugh Gordon's picture
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The LM School District invites residents of Ardmore and Wynnewood to a meeting tonight to talk about the proposed expansion of Lower Merion High School.  

On November 18 the Board of School Directors will vote to expand the high school choice zone so that it is close to what was in effect before the most recent redistricting.  Among other things, this will restore choice to the LM VUE plaintiffs who sued the School District and lost in both the Federal District Court and the Federal Court of Appeals.

Recently, Kathy Boccella, a reporter for the Inquirer, wrote about the plan:  http://articles.philly.com/2013-10-15/news/43029815_1_enrollment-spike-patrick-guinnane-classrooms#J0bqb4pqRV1iQ4HZ.99

The irony is not lost on those who say the racial-discrimination fight divided the wealthy community and embarrassed one of the top school districts in the state.

"The district spent millions of dollars fighting a commonsense kind of thing, and now they turn it around and will end up with exactly what the plaintiffs were asking for," said James Herbert, an Ardmore resident who is a spokesman for the African American families.

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Although the parents lost the case, the district eventually acknowledged that balancing the racial makeup of the two schools was one goal of the redistricting.

Board president Melissa Gilbert called the possible restoration of the choice zone around Lower Merion - about a mile radius - "a happy by-product" of the recent enrollment spike.

"The community that thought they were negatively affected by the redistricting will regain choice," she said.

So far so good.  Then Ms. Boccella kind of spoils her article with this rubbish:

Already, residents who live next to Lower Merion have complained about bringing back school choice, saying students walking through their streets will throw trash.

Solid reservations about the School District's plan include:  the projected enrollment numbers are highly conjectural; a two-year delay in deciding whether and where to spend $5-6 million on additional constructions at the brand new high schools would enable the projections to be more timely and accurate without jeopardizing whatever accommodation would actually be needed; a major reconfiguration of the LMHS site would be needed to accommodate the additional parking needs for teachers, staff, students and buses.     The fear of students from South Ardmore walking through the pristine neighborhoods of North Ardmore, which they did for years before the most recent redistricting, does not remotely figure as a concern in reality. 

Restoring choice to students within a reasonable walking distance of LMHS ought to be a priority and should be accomplished on its own merits as a separate and distinct issue from projected enrollments.

A careful and intelligent critique of the projected enrollment figures presented by the School District can be found at http://www.realclearlmsd.com/

 

Tonight's meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Large Group Instruction Room at Lower Merion High School.

 

 

 

 

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LMT Observer's picture
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Tonight's meeting topic--District's proposed new expansion of Lower Merion High School--sounds like one of interest to all Lower Merion residential tax payers.  

What's the reason for limiting attendance to Wynnewood and Ardmore residents?

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dmuth's picture
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