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I almost missed it in the election buzz, but southeastern San Diego will soon get something that every other neighborhood in San Diego Unified has: A neighborhood middle school.

A few months ago, I wrote about the dilemma for Lincoln High, which has no school that automatically feeds it teens. That has caused problems as San Diego Unified tries to plan reforms around the “cluster” of schools that feed into each high school:

Roughly half of local students leave the neighborhood when middle school rolls around, taking buses north to other schools. What were once the neighborhood middle schools have converted into independent charter schools. Because charters are separate from the school district, their students don’t automatically feed into the local high schools — and two of the closest charters are now forming high schools of their own.

The result is a mishmash. Freshmen came to Lincoln from four dozen different middle schools last year.

Soon that will change. Last night the school board decided to use $1 million in school construction bond money to convert Knox, a nearby K-8 school with a small number of middle schoolers, into a middle school that can house 700 students. The work is supposed to be completed in three years.

The school board did not decide whether to also expand Millennial Tech Middle, a magnet school that gets students from all over the school district, to include more neighborhood kids. Parents told the Union-Tribune they were uneasy with the idea of adding more students. The district is eyeing the site as another school to help feed Lincoln.

Please contact Emily Alpert directly at emily.alpert@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5665 and follow her on Twitter: twitter.com/emilyschoolsyou.

Emily Alpert

Emily Alpert was formerly the education reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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