Montclair Schools Launching Review Of Magnet Program

A consulting firm is asking parents to share their thoughts


A Boston-based consulting firm, the District Management Council, emailed Montclair parents late Thursday to say that Montclair Public Schools is undertaking a review of its magnet program.

School Board President Shelly Lombard said the "restructuring study" was approved last year.

"Of course our finances look rosy right now. But the goal is to have a contingency plan in case we lose state aid or get a charter school," she said. "We are looking for suggestions on how to restructure the district so we can save a few million dollars but keep the things we value most."

Indeed, the review, the email said, is part of an ongoing effort to continuously improve through reflection and research. While the district, it continued, is proud of the quality of services provided to students and the diversity promoted by the system, ever higher expectations and tight budgets require looking for ways to further increase student learning and moderate spending.

The district will be working with District Management Council to conduct an Opportunities Review of the district’s magnet program. This systematic study will examine MPS’s current services, programs, procedures, staffing and costs.

The firm would like parents to participate in a 45-minute focus group to share thoughts, concerns and ideas related to the district’s magnet program. This discussion group will be facilitated by the District Management Council, and responses will be kept completely anonymous.

There are two possible time slots for people's participation:

Option 1: 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 15, at the 2nd floor of Board of Education (22 Valley Rd)
Option 2: 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 15, at the 2nd floor of Board of Education (22 Valley Rd)

If you’d like to participate, please RSVP to jeankim@dmcouncil.org with the following information:

(1) Name
(2) Gender
(3) The time slot you’d like to participate (please choose option 1 or 2)
(4) Grade(s) and school(s) of your child/children
(5) Race (White/African American/Hispanic/Asian/if Other, please indicate)

In December, the District Management Council—a firm that works with more than 65 school districts in 30 states to develop and implement strategies that reduce the cost of educational programs—said it had the Montclair School District's amassing of a record surplus as an example of “best practice” in its meetings and discussions with other financially strapped school districts around the nation that are looking for effective ways to cut costs.


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