RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The public schools in Virginia’s capital could be merged by grade level to solve what researchers call intense racial segregation.

The Richmond Public Schools face a December deadline to decide on new school zones. Monday’s meeting was the first public hearing since a committee finalized four rezoning proposals to choose from.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that nearly all of the 40 people speaking Monday night support integration through “school pairing.” Zones of majority-white and majority-black schools would merge, and all the students in each grade would attend the same school.

A second hearing is set for next Monday and the final one is scheduled for Dec. 2, the same night the board is expected to vote on new zones.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.richmond.com

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