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From InsideNova.com, Department of Justice launches inquiry into 12th high school boundary plan

School division projections for the new boundary proposal estimate that the number of “economically disadvantaged” students — a measure of those who qualify for free and reduced lunch – would make up 9.4 percent of the 12th high school’s student body.That’s the lowest percent of poor children at any Prince William County high school, although Brentsville High School comes close at 9.7 percent.

Racial diversity will be more balanced at the new school, with minority student enrollment projected at about 38 percent. Still, only Brentsville is lower, at 31 percent.

In a recent interview, school Superintendent Steven Walts said there has not been any effort to exclude lower-income neighborhoods, as some have claimed.

From InsideNova.com, Feds: Proposed 12th high school boundaries exclude minority students

In the letter, Gardner observes that the percentage of minority students at the new high school, which is under construction now on Va. 234 near Hoadly Road, will be significantly lower than that of surrounding high schools.

Gardner also raises concerns about the irregular shape of the school’s attendance boundary and that it seems to exclude “islands” of territory where students will remain zoned for Osbourn Park High School even though they live closer to the 12th high school.

“In contrast to the students slated to be moved from Osbourn Park to the 12th high school, the students excluded from the 12th high school attendance boundary are overwhelmingly minority: 77.8 percent of the high school students living in the westernmost (and most populous) ‘island’ are minority, as are 66.7 percent of the high school students living in the easternmost ‘island,’” Gardner wrote.
“Maps generated by the District indicate that students living in these areas (and others) are not being assigned to the school closest to where they live,” the letter continues.

Gardner said the findings “raise significant concerns” about whether the boundary proposal complies with the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 and has asked school division officials to consult with the department on “next steps” before proceeding.

From PotomacLocal.com, School Board to Review 12th High School Boundary Plan

A proposal to revise Prince William County Public Schools’ high school attendance zones came in response to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into the newest school’s student demographic make-up.

From Bristow Beat, DOJ Questions Civil Rights Compliance in 12th HS Boundaries; Boundary Vote Delayed

The federal Department of Justice (DOJ) has requested the Prince William School District (PWCS) provide their department with a list of documents and information to help them “better understand the proposed plan and ensure its compliance with federal civil rights laws.”

Included in the requested information is documentation of specifications and amenities of the new high school, including “but not limited to the new high school’s cost and all features other than ordinary classrooms,” including swimming pools, athletic facilities and computer labs.