MERIDEN — Diversity in the city’s public schools is increasing, with a little more than 70 percent of students now identified as minorities, a survey revealed.
Minorities collectively accounted for just 13 percent of enrollment in 1972, according to historical data.
“It says the population over time has changed,” said Assistant Superintendent of Schools Michael Grove. “I think it’s good for the schools. It’s good to have a mix of different races in your schools. It’s like the real world.”
The Board of Education reviewed data from the 2017 survey Tuesday. The survey is mandated by the state to ensure schools comply with districting guidelines mandating the percentage of minority students in each school be within 25 percent of the district average. If a school is outside 25 percent of the average, the school system is required to redistrict, Grove said.
The survey showed all schools in compliance and within 15 percent of the district average.
Data revealed John Barry Elementary has 86 percent minority students, of which 69 percent are Hispanic. Thomas Hooker has the fewest minority students – 56 percent.
Overall, 54 percent of students were identified as Hispanic, 30 percent as white, 11 percent as black, 4 percent as mixed race, and about 2 percent as Asian American.
Board of Education Secretary Robert KosienskiJr. said the data reveal how the population is growing.
”It goes hand in hand with the city’s economic growth and the overall health of the city,” Kosienski said. “You can see where the growth has been as far as the influx of people into the community.”