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Summer sessions cut at some schools

Officials will offer the same number of classes, but at fewer schools.

School Board members approved plans Tuesday night to restrict the number of schools offering summer classes, but to largely leave unchanged the courses offered.

Classes will be offered at 40 elementary schools, 17 middle schools and eight high schools.

Fewer students are expected at summer school this year, in part, because failing elementary and middle school students are no longer allowed to use summer school to advance to the next grade level.

Also under the plan, summer school driver's education will be restricted to students who are not suspended or transferred for disciplinary reasons, and who are not absent more than five times as of Feb. 8. Enrollment at each of the eight schools offering driver's education will be capped at 160 students.

Board members also approved a fee increase for driver's education, from $25 to $35 beginning in August.

In other matters:

The School Board released a schedule for developing a plan to end the 40-year-old court battle over desegregation. According to the schedule, a final draft of the plan would be made available to the School Board on June 6, while a first draft would be completed by March 21.

The schedule's release comes two weeks after board member Candy Olson prodded her colleagues to agree to June as a deadline for a plan proposal.

The board voted 6-1 to approve boundaries for Peter B. Davidsen Middle School in the Westchase development that will exclude students from the Timberlane area, a once predominantly white neighborhood which is now integrated. A federal desegregation order mandates that students from the Timberlane area be bused to Roland Park Middle School.

Parents from Timberlane argued Tuesday night that the court order punishes their children by forcing them to attend school outside their neighborhood.

"Don't sacrifice Timberlane," said Carlton Lewis, a Timberlane resident. "We're not going to stand for it."

The School Board appointed two new principals Tuesday night.

Quincenia Bell, who is the assistant principal for curriculum at Durant High School, was named principal of Williams Middle School.

Catherine Ferguson, the assistant principal for elementary instruction at Seffner Elementary School, was named principal of McDonald Elementary School.

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