Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board (CMS) spent Monday tweaking the new student assignment policy. The board is ready to use a family's income, parents' level of education, and their neighborhood to determine a student's socioeconomic status.
That status will give students top priority to attend a better school.
"We do think from all the studies and all the places where people have at least moved in this direction - other districts - that this makes a difference in student achievement," board Member Tom Tate said.
The goal is not to lump students living in high poverty into one school. CMS wants more diverse schools. The school district realizes some parents may have issues with giving up some personal information. They may want to keep their income a secret.
"We're not going to say a parent has got to tell us what they are earning," Board Chair Mary McCray said. "But if you look at it as an investment in your student, I don't see any reason why a parent would not want us to know."
The new policy would also allow students in low performing schools for three consecutive years to have top priority to transfer to another school.
The new plan will cost the district more money. It is expected the district's transportation budget will increase. Picking students up and taking them to better schools will increase the budget. The board will share the plan with county commissioners soon.
The district hopes the county will help fund the new plan.
A concern is the new student assignment policy is too complex for parents to understand and parents may not take advantage of the new options.
"Making the language parent friendly," McCray said. "And making it understandable."
A marketing team is working on a way to get the message out to parents. The district is also making plans to allow parents to use the district's computer labs to apply for the new options.
The board will vote on the new student assignment plan in November and the changes will go into effect the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.