Steps Boston has taken on busing

1989 — Enacted a sprawling three-zone system that replaced a court-ordered forced-busing plan to desegregate the city’s schools. Plan has long been criticized as cumbersome and confusing.

2004 — Offered eight proposals, which ranged from keeping the status quo to creating a citywide school-choice system, and creating four, six, and 12 zones. All of those ultimately failed to gain support amid concerns about a lack of high-quality schools.

2009 — Proposed a five-zone plan, developed with little public input. It died amid a public uproar that some of the poorest neighborhoods would be stuck with too many low-performing schools.


Jan. 2012 — Mayor Thomas M. Menino vows to revamp the system to allow more students to attend school closer to home.

Get Ground Game in your inbox:
Daily updates and analysis on national politics from James Pindell.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

March 2012 — A 24-member advisory committee appointed by Menino begins weighing changes to the system, poring over data and research and reaching out to the public.

Sept. 2012 — School officials propose five plans to the advisory committee: for 6, 9, 11, and 23 zones, and a proposal to scrap the notion of geographic attendance boundaries.

October 2012 — The five plans appear to be losing favor as the panel embraces a proposal by MIT doctoral student Peng Shi in which a computerized system would generate a choice of at least four schools near a family’s home.

Jan. 2013 —The School Department changes course and proposes plans for 10 and 11 zones, plus two plans with no zones.


Feb. 25 — Advisory committee recommends the city adopt one of the no-zone plans. It would provide families with at least six schools to choose from, including at least four of medium or high quality.

Wednesday — School Committee approves new plan that does away with assignment zones.