Explanation of Board Policy Regarding School Placements and Registration
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
There seems to be misinformation given to you on how our registration process works. As I’m sure you are aware, the Montclair School District has been under a Federal desegregation order since 1967. This Desegregation order clearly states that schools must be racially balanced and a formula was created by the Board of Education years ago to adhere to this order.
The current formula sets up three registration zones. As parents, you request a variety of schools in preference order and this information is placed into that formula or algorithm to place the highest number of students in their highest ranked preference of schools, while adhering to the formula. All schools have a cap on the number of students from each zone that can attend a particular school, according to the total enrollment for the specific grade — which impacts class size. In some incidences, based on the number of students from a zone requesting a particular school, your child could be assigned to a school less than your first or second preference.
In the middle schools, there is no guarantee of which school you would be assigned regardless of your request because we have only three schools. We try our best to balance the schools, again by adhering to the formula for placement and the number of requests made. The same situation applies for middle school — your child could be assigned to your first, second, or third preferred school, which is often the student’s “feeder” school from his/her elementary school.
The only students that are placed ahead of the algorithm/formula, are students with specific special needs which can only be met at specific schools or students requiring English Language Learner programming.
Montclair does not have neighborhood schools and therefore there is no basis for students being assigned to schools within the zone in which they live.
I know that sometimes staff members in the district do not help parents in understanding that we do not have a choice school program. This is where the confusion exists. We have a selection program based on a Federal desegregation ruling which is implemented by zone in order to maintain the diversity and uniqueness of Montclair for which many parents move to Montclair.
Under no circumstances can the Superintendent of Schools or the Registrar change your final assignment. Changing the assignment is prohibited by Board policy. The only time assignments are changed is when students are placed on a waiting list in one building and space becomes available at a higher ranked school, and also meets the criteria for zone balancing. I apologize for any miscommunication from staff members who may have said there is an appeal process that can change your placement because this is entirely inaccurate.
Ronald E. Bolandi