Deering High School in Portland. Credit: Seth Koenig / BDN

Some eighth-graders in Portland may not have a say when it comes to where they go to high school.

A new proposal from the Portland School Board is trying to balance attendance and diversity among the three schools.

Tuesday night’s agenda for the Portland School Board was to answer questions and make clear what the problem is and how they see this proposal as the solution.

For years, eighth-grade students have chosen between Portland or Deering High Schools or entering the lottery for Casco Bay High School.

More and more students have been choosing Portland High School in recent years.

In 2020, almost twice as many students chose Portland over Deering.

Deering also has seen a more diverse student body, including more multilingual learners and those who qualify for free school lunch.

Because of this imbalance, school officials said Deering High School has begun to suffer.

“Deering has lost approximately 20 percent of its faculty; Portland High has increased faculty by about 20 percent,” Portland Superintendent Xavier Botana said. “So that means on the Deering side, that they don’t have the same ability to provide the variety of courses that they would want.”

If passed, a separate lottery would be conducted to balance diversity and class size between Deering and Portland.

In any given year, school officials anticipate less than 10 percent of students would be affected.

A public hearing for the proposal is scheduled for Sept. 6, and a vote is scheduled for Sept. 20.