According to the Zoning Board, with the congestion of the school districts, it is advisable to rezone to mitigate the issue of overcrowding of the districts (Carnahan, 2003). The board also thinks that rezoning is considered more cost effective as compared to building new school blocks more cost effective than building new schools. The issue to consider is whether it is cost effective to make students travel more than 20 miles every day to attend the school. Apart from the risks involved in commuting, the increased cost of transportation also poses a significant problem. It is argued that the rezoning may also hinder the aspirations of the parents to send their children to the best schools.
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There was a proposal to rezone the school district and the Miami-Dade County Working Group on Public Schools Overcrowding Relief approved the recommendations to ease crowding in Miami-Dade. This implies that there will be moving of children from one school to the other. The school boards and Board of County Commissioners will be authorized to move the students from the overcrowded schools. The effect of such move on the stakeholders is analyzed in this paper. While generally it may be a small inconvenience to the parents and students, this move is expected to be beneficial in the long-term to the public.
Quality of Education
This move will have a significant effect on the education of the children. Since the curriculum of the school is the same throughout the State, moving children from the overcrowded schools may not really affect the continuance in the education. In fact, because of overcrowding, the teachers may not be able to show equal attention to all the students. By moving children to less crowded schools in the same school district, the State would be facilitating the promotion of quality education.
Increased Travel Time
The increased travel time makes the students leave their homes earlier. They can return to their homes only late. This poses a serious problem for the working parents, as they have to get up earlier than usual to ensure that the needs of the children for attending to the schools are taken care of. This will hamper the daily routine of the parents. The education of the children would also get affected, as the children will have only lesser time left for attending to their home works due to increased commuting time. The problem here seems to be a physical inconvenience to a learning issue.
Ethical Impact – Crossing economic and cultural boundaries
This issue has always been considered as one of the sensitive subjects. It is the feeling of many of the citizens that they are entitled to live in better neighborhoods, since they pay higher amount of taxes. They also are of the view that their children should attend schools in the districts in which they have settled by acquiring a house and other properties. They really are not inclined to send their children to schools where the children of poor parents are also studying. They feel that there is no necessity for the urban children to mingle with the children from rural areas. Similarly, the idea of Catholic children attending schools with Muslim children is also not appealing to them. These are some of the basic issues, which may arise when the families move to different localities to ensure that their children receive the best education possible. When they are unable to reach these objectives, they feel that the boundary of protection they had been crossed by outsiders. However, there is always the facility of registering their children in private schools or residential schools if they really wish to avoid any of these cultural clashes.
It is the period when the children attend the school, at which he/she is exposed to different cultures. It is at this age that children are taught to fight against racism by making them interact with children of different cultures, color and creed. In fact, the parents should welcome such an atmosphere, which shapes the attitudes of children in the formatting years. However, it seems there is still a long way before this can be realized by majority of the people.
Impact on property values
In the current economic scenario, the homeowners in the school districts would never want any reduction in their property values. People move to different school districts for getting better education for their children. Since rezoning of school districts may result in the movement of certain households, the impact on the property value may be felt, but not to a significant level.
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There are a number of stakeholders connected with the functioning of the schools (Miami Dade School Board Agenda, 2001).Students are the first and important group of stakeholders. Movement of children from one school to another may lead to drastic changes in the lives of children, as they have to get used to new surroundings and make new friends. The attending of a new school may turn out to be a traumatic experience. It may also be an an exciting one for some other students.
Parents as the next group of stakeholders seem to be unhappy with the rezoning of school districts. They are not keen in making the children travel over 20 miles every day. In addition, if they move to a newer place, it becomes difficult for them to adjust to the new surroundings than the children.
Taxpayers form the majority of the stakeholders who are affected. The zoning might result in the increase in the tax payable by the citizens. Since Miami is occupied by most senior citizens with limited income, the increase in taxes may prove to be burden for them. With many seniors living in Miami, this could be a burden on those with limited incomes. Since this group of citizens does not have children, they may not understand the intricacies of the problem. Moreover, the additional cost of transportation of students has also to be put up by the taxpayers.
The school district as a stakeholder will have to fund the transportation properly. In addition, the cost of additional book supplies and additional teaching personnel to manage the additional children moved in the redrawn school district has to be met by the school district authority. More students imply, more costs leading to higher taxes..
Negotiation Strategies and Plan for Successful Outcome
The best negotiation strategy is to adopt one, which is strong enough to influence the other. The citizens have to join and represent their feelings on rezoning to the authorities. If the majority of the citizens are for rezoning, then the school board should adhere to the wish of the majority. On the other hand if the majority is not in favor of rezoning then the school board should drop the idea. However, this can happen in a perfect world. In reality, the Board goes ahead and does what it feels better for the children and the Board does not consider the needs and feelings of the parents. In order to arrive at a solution it is essential that a compromising solution be reached so that the majority can be appeased.
Funding can be used as a negotiating tool if the school board wishes to proceed with rezoning. The school will receive funding each date the student attends the school. In case the students are not attending the classes there will be no need for funding the school and the school will lose the funding. Home schooling is another option, which can be cited by the parents to oppose the rezoning. When the majority of families opt for home schooling, the school district will receive less funding. With lesser number of students, there will be no need for rezoning.
Carnahan, I. (2003). Desegregation’s Broken Promises. Web.
MiamiDadeSchoolBoardAgenda. (2001). Miami Dade School Board Agenda. Web.