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Richmond Public Schools Freezes Open Enrollment at Munford Elementary. Any New Slots Reserved For Carver Students.

Two women, one in a blue shirt and one in a white shirt, sitting in front of a laptop computer.
At the school board’s December 16 meeting, Linda Owen proposed that rising 4th, 8th and 12th graders be exempt from open enrollment changes next year.

Update: According to board member Liz Doerr, the board did not need to vote in order to freeze open enrollment at Mary Munford Elementary for the next academic school year. Current open enrollment students will be allowed to stay, but their siblings who aren’t already enrolled won’t be allowed to sign up to attend the school.

50 slots are being reserved for Carver Elementary students. According to Doerr, the district plans to help make room for any new Carver Elementary students by increasing class sizes at Munford by one student per class, from 24 to 25. 

Doerr said next year, she’d like to limit open enrollment at Munford based on family income.

Richmond’s school board plans to vote on changes to its open enrollment policy Monday night. This comes just days ahead of when the district’s open enrollment period begins, when families can enter a lottery to enroll their students in schools of their choice, outside their zoned school, for the next academic year.

School board member Scott Barlow worries that without somehow prioritizing open-enrollment slots for low-income families, recent efforts to increase student diversity across the city will be undermined. 

“We understand that our open enrollment policies and practices at this point are more accessible to families who have means, and in particular, at schools where we have tried to address diversity,” Barlow said.

Vice Chair Liz Doerr says she wants to freeze open enrollment at Mary Munford for the next school year, in order to allow parents from Carver who wish to send their kids to Munford to do so.

“So there would be no opportunity for anyone to opt into Mary Mumford for open enrollment except for Carver families,” Doerr said.

Doerr also wants to explore suspending open enrollment altogether. 

At the board’s last meeting, members voted to allow 5th graders, 8th graders and seniors to stay at their current school next year. Linda Owen proposed the idea.

“Any child who is a rising 5th grader, young person who is a rising 8th grader and young adult who is a rising senior could stay in the school where they are,” Owen said.

This change applies to students regardless of whether they’re attending the school they are zoned for, or are attending a school through open enrollment.

Siblings of these students who aren’t rising 5th, 8th or 12th graders will not be grandfathered into their current school.

The school board meeting is happening at 6 pm at George Mason Elementary. 

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Megan Pauly reports on early childhood and higher education news in Virginia
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