Urban Center Has Plan To Redistrict Schools


The Harvard-M.I.T. Joint Center for Urban Studies will present the first draft of a plan for redrawing Boston's racially imbalanced school districts to representatives of the Boston School Committee today.

The plan, under preparation at the Joint Center for the past three months, will be the first complete redistricting proposal submitted in the current dispute over de facto segregation in Boston schools.

At today's meeting the School Committee will discuss the entire racial imbalance problem with a Task Force set up by the Massachusetts Board of Education. The Task Force brought the Center into the racial controversy this year by accepting its offer to serve in an advisory role.

The School Committee told the State Board Tuesday that it was waiting for the Joint Center's study so that it could submit a final, comprehensive racial imbalance plan. Boston stands to lose $41 million in state aid unless the School Committee presents a satisfactory plan.

MacDonald Barr, director of the project of the Joint Center, said that he could not estimate how much of the redistricting plan would be adopted by the School Committee.

Redrew School Districts

The Joint Center has redrawn school district lines on the basis of extensive census data showing where Negro school children live. They are now checking the proposed new districts on a Harvard computer to make sure that they will not force children to walk too great a distance to school.

According to William G. Buss, Assistant to the Dean of Education and a member of the Task Force, the Joint Center has also provided "a range of available alternatives" for a racial busing program. But sources at the Joint Center said that researchers there had only done substantial work on the redistricting plan.

There are varying estimates of how large a role the Joint Center's redistricting plan will have, Barr has said that the Joint Center researchers are acting only as "technical advisors" and that the Task Force is responsible for all policy recom- mendations.

Critical Job

But Buss pointed out yesterday that the Joint Center has been doing the "critical" job by accumulating technical details and "showing how these very complicated considerations can be plugged into the real world."

The Boston School Committee announced two weeks ago that it would try to settle the dispute with the state by offering a three point plan--including the building of new schools, redistricting and limited racial busing. A source close to the Committee said yesterday that the building plan has already been completed