LEWISTON — After months of hearings and one hour of debate Monday night, the Lewiston School Committee rejected a controversial recommendation to redistrict 223 elementary students this fall.

The vote was 5-3.

Several committee members speaking for redistricting said it was their duty to make sure all of the city’s children had access to the best educational opportunities. Those opposed said there were too many problems with the plan, that it left out several schools and didn’t go far enough. Others said new classroom space at McMahon Elementary School could be filled without disrupting so many families.

The redistricting committee had recommended moving 131 downtown students from poorer neighborhoods to Geiger Elementary and and McMahon, and 92 Geiger students from middle-class neighborhoods to Montello.

Supporters said the reasons were to better balance the city’s poorer students and those learning to speak English, and fill new classroom space opening up at McMahon.

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