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Does choice make board districts obsolete?

Mark Sass, a teacher since 1994, teaches at Legacy High School in the Adams Five Star School District.

The recent report from A+ Denver highlighting how various Denver Public Schools board members’ districts are achieving  posed an interesting question for me that I would like to get your feedback on.

A few decades ago school board members represented not only the schools in their respective districts but almost all of the students as well.  Almost all of the students living in the school board member’s district went to schools in their district.  This was not always true, especially during the integration movement on the late 70s and 80s in Denver.  But in general, our school boards represented their constituents’ students as well as the schools in their district.

With the recent movement towards choice, has the traditional representation model of school boards changed?  Does it need to?

For example, I would argue that Nate Easley has the most students attending schools in his district that do not live in his district as compared to other school board members.  (I am sure someone who has the time could actually find the numbers) These students are the children of constituents who do not live in his district.

Does this impact how he represents his district?  Should it?  Should we change the way we geographically designate school board members?  If choice becomes more and more popular and students go to schools outside of their board member’s boundary who is the school board member representing?  Does it matter?

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