The Portland school board has voted to limit high school choice.
In this April 3, 2018, file photo, Deering High School is seen in Portland. Credit: Seth Koenig / BDN

The Portland school board has voted to limit high school choice.

The plan, which passed in a 5-to-2 vote Tuesday night, aims to balance attendance and diversity between Portland and Deering High Schools, which may mean taking away a child’s choice.

For years, eighth-grade students have chosen between the two high schools or going into a lottery for Casco Bay High School.

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

This was highlighted in 2020, when almost twice as many students picked Portland over Deering.

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

The imbalance has affected the school’s resources, too. Deering has seen a drop in about 20 percent of staff and Portland a rise in the same amount, which means a smaller variety of classes that students at Deering can take.

Some parents, though, are upset about the decision, which goes into effect if initial class sizes are uneven.

In that case, students would be put into a separate lottery and up to 10 percent could be forced to attend the other school.