Coral Gables

Coral Gables commission to discuss Controlled Choice on Tuesday

Coral Gables residents will be able to speak at 2 p.m. about Controlled Choice before the City Commission, which has requested that the policy be eliminated for the coming Fall.

Controlled Choice has been a hot topic of debate in the Gables over the past few months. The policy, which was established by Miami-Dade County Public Schools in the 1980s, was originally designed to desegregate schools. Coral Gables is the county’s only remaining city still under the program, with three schools within the boundary: Coral Gables Preparatory Academy, George Washington Carver Elementary and Sunset Elementary

It allows parents in the area to choose their children’s schools by ranking their preferences. There are no guarantees — they might actually get their third choice. Also, the school is not revealed to parents until right before the school year starts.

Often, residents can live a block away from one school, but end up having to commute across town to another school.

The city and many residents are calling for the School Board to do away with the policy.

But some residents are calling on the city to withdraw their request to the School Board, saying the city didn’t give residents enough notice about their goal to do away with the policy, and that the process was not transparent.

“First and foremost, the process that was used by the city of Coral Gables and Miami-Dade County Public Schools — to hide their proposal from the parents until only four days remained out of a 70 day review process — is insulting,” said Paul Savage, an attorney and parent in the Gables. “I am in favor of any reasonable plan, even if the ultimate plan is against my own recommendation. I will support any reasonable plan that follows the legal process.”

Adela Gondelles-Sardiñas, a Gables resident who is been actively involved in the debate, told the Miami Herald in an email that her younger child will have to switch schools if the proposed boundary change is accepted.

“I also want to share information about performance of Carver Elementary versus Sunset Elementary found on miamidadeschools.net. The District is selling the change in boundary limits like both schools are the same, and they are not,” Gondelles-Sardiñas said.

The city says that they will ask the School Board to consider grandfathering students, along with their siblings, if the policy does change.

Commissioners will meet with the Miami-Dade County School Board at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. At that meeting, the Attendance Boundary Committee is expected to vote on the issue. Their recommendation will then go to the superintendent, who will make the final decision.

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