12:25pm

Mon January 30, 2012
Race No Longer Sole Factor Considered

Franklin School System Rezoning for Diversity

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (AP) — The Franklin Special School District is changing how it assigns students to schools so that populations will be more diverse.

Because housing patterns have changed, 40 percent of the students who receive free or reduced-price lunches in the Franklin system go to just two elementary schools.

School board member Kent McNish tells The Tennessean that the decision this month to begin rezoning students is an effort to enable more students to have a better shot at success.

Those who support the new plan say children who attend schools that are balanced racially and economically make stronger learning gains.

But parent Liz Ferguson says most parents are not in favor of the rezoning. Ferguson says that when you move to an area, “that's where you expect your school zone to be."

A growing number of school systems across the county are using different factors in determining how students are assigned to schools after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that districts can't rely solely on race when determining assignment plans.

Rutherford County schools, for example, now use income factors to spread students more evenly across schools.