Coral Gables

Town Hall meeting to discuss controlled choice and West Lab seats

Coral Gables will hold a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Youth Center. City officials will discuss changing the school assignment policies of the Miami-Dade Public School Board that affect Gables residents and surrounding communities.

The last remaining controlled choice policy in the county applies to Coral Gables Preparatory Academy, George Washington Carver Elementary and Sunset Elementary.

Under this program for public school admission, Coral Gables parents apply to their top two preferences among Coral Gables Preparatory Academy, Sunset Elementary and G.W. Carver Elementary. But they may actually get their third choice, and they won’t find out which school their children will attend until right before the school year begins.

“The School Board is considering replacing this policy so that students would be assigned based on geographic boundary lines, which will be drawn by School Board staff with input from the community,” City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark said in a press release.

Also to be discussed are potential changes to Henry S. West Laboratory School attendance boundaries policy, to provide more guaranteed seats for Coral Gables residents.

Because West Lab is a magnet school, it accepts students from all over the county, making it difficult for Coral Gables students to get into a school in their own back yard. About 16 percent of students at West Lab are Coral Gables residents. About half of the more than 500 students on a waiting list for the school are Gables residents.

The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Coral Gables War Memorial Youth Center, 405 University Dr., at 6 p.m. on Jan. 14.

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