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    Concerns Over Changing School Boundaries

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    Analyze the scenario:

    The Miami school district has announced that because of unexpected increases in enrollment, school boundaries for the upcoming year will be redrawn. The school board has hired experts to redraw school boundaries to be submitted for next year. Under this plan, many students will not be able to stay at their present school. Upon hearing this, parents start voicing their objections to the school board about the proposed plan for the following reasons:

    o Quality of education
    o Increased travel time
    o Crossing economic and cultural boundaries
    o Affect on property values
    o Social effects on children

    Develop a plan to address stakeholders' concerns. Determine the following:

    o Who are the stakeholders?
    o What negotiation strategy do you use to support the school board's need to redraw the boundaries while addressing the concerns of the stakeholders?
    o How might ethics and culture affect your decision or play a role in the outcome?

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    Solution Preview

    The stakeholders in this case are the children who attend the schools, school staff, teachers, parents of the children and local property owners. The school board is affected by the increases in enrollment as well as by the decision to expand the boundaries. However, the school board cannot legally turn new enrollments away. Because of increased enrollment, the school district may receive additional funding, which could help the district pay for things it has not previously had enough funds for. However, the school district may need to hire and train additional teachers or tutors, to address the needs of students, whose regular teachers have addressed their needs in the past. Teachers are affected with new boundaries. Some teachers may have more students in their classrooms, in the upcoming school year. They must plan for how to effectively address their teaching methods to meet the needs of a larger group of learners.

    The children are affected by this decision, as they will be working in classrooms with more students. Those who currently receive individual attention in the classroom may not be able to do so. Children with increased travel times to school will have less time in the afternoon and evening for homework and other activities. Parents are affected if their children are exposed to students of other backgrounds and cultures. They are concerned about property values as well, which may be affected if schools perform poorly or the redrawn boundaries lead to increases in property crimes, such as theft and vandalism.

    It is evident a negotiation strategy must be developed, to address the concerns of the parents. The dilemma in this case is in how to approach negotiations that will create value for the various stakeholders. If the school district takes a hard stance that its decisions will not be considered, based on the concerns of parents, the only party with a possible good outcome is the school district. To address the needs and concerns of both sides, the negotiator must approach the situation from a perspective of creating value for each side. "In the value-creating view negotiators work primarily to increase the available resources, to find joint gains or "win-win" solutions" (Lax & Sebenius, 1992). In this case, a negotiator must identify those resources available that might bring about or create value for parents and the school district.

    In addressing the concerns of parents, the negotiator must first determine the most critical issues, or what it is that parents want. Often concerns on either one or both sides are based on emotion or feelings. The true concerns of parents ...

    Solution Summary

    The solution explains the effects that changing school boundaries can have on all stakeholders, including the community, parents, students, teachers and local businesses.