BURLINGTON The Burlington School Board convened on Aug. 24 for a 4-hour session and reached a consensus on 4 points which reflect the boards desire to achieve excellence and equity in the Burlington schools.
Fourteen board members were present at the meeting and each member shared their thoughts on the issue of excellence and equity. The group also took part in an exercise on priority setting.
The exercise revealed several points, one, that economic balance in each of the schools is necessary for equal opportunity and diversity.
The second point revolved around the concept of creating magnet schools, i.e., schools that would attract a specific cross-section of students to a particular discipline. For example, a magnet school could feature a strong emphasis on the arts, thus attracting students whose interests center around the arts.
No specific concept was identified in the boards conversation on magnet schools.
The third point looked into support systems for students in poverty. Pre-kindergarten opportunities and extended-day opportunities were discussed.
The fourth and final point looked at the financial sustainability of the Burlington school district.
This was the second work session held by the board since the end of the community discussions in June. Most of the board spent the summer reflecting on what they heard at the community discussions and are now in preparation for the next phase of the decision making.
Whether or not the district will continue to maintain six elementary schools and the idea of redistricting have not been decided upon. The goal of redistricting would be to achieve economic balance, according to a release sent out by Superintendent Jeanne Collins.
The board did not vote on any of the items discussed, as Collins stressed that the meeting was intended to be a priority setting exercise.
The results of this priority exercise will go to the board agenda committee for review and further recommendations on the process will return to the board at the September or October board meetings, noted Collins.