Programs to Eliminate Racial Imbalance (METCO)

  • Description
  • Funding History
  • Proposals

The Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) is a voluntary inter-district school assignment program designed to increase diversity and educational opportunity. METCO allows students in certain cities to attend public schools in other communities that volunteer to participate. Ultimately, METCO is designed both to reduce the racial isolation of suburban school districts and reduce segregation in city schools.

Created in 1966, METCO originally served 200 students attending seven suburban schools. As of 2016, the program served approximately 3,300 students from Boston and Springfield who attend public schools in 38 participating communities. In 2015 the METCO waitlist reached 10,451 students. Over 90 percent of METCO students are African-American or Latino, while almost all of the receiving districts are over 70 percent white. In 2014, the four year graduation rate for METCO students was 98 percent, compared to 67 percent and 62 percent in the sending districts of Boston and Springfield.

The continuation of METCO depends on state funding as well as the voluntary participation of host districts. These host districts receive per-pupil grants for each METCO student enrolled in their schools. In FY 2017, the per-pupil grant amount was $3,925 for instructional and support services. Participating districts also received $6.0 million to support METCO student transportation. Additionally, host districts count METCO students towards their foundation budgets, which in turn affect their state aid allocations through the Chapter 70 funding formula.

In addition to coordinating the grant and student assignment processes, METCO provides support services for participating students, including after school tutoring, counseling, and parent information meetings.

Updated November 2016

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