A call for more support in BPS budget

Parents, students make case for programs

Yawu Miller | 3/14/2018, 10:08 a.m.
Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang again touted this year’s school budget as the largest-ever during a hearing last week ...
Mabel Gondres testifies. Banner photo

Chang last week cited the city’s funding increase, which he said will result in $40 million in new funds going directly to the district’s 126 schools.

But parent activist Bob Damon said the district is counting $33 million that last year paid for salary increases negotiated by the Boston Teachers Union as part of this year’s funding increase.

“It’s like saying the electric bill went up by $30 million and that’s a new investment,” he said. “It’s changing nothing else in the system, but it’s being packaged as an investment in education.”

What gets lost in the budget are funds for basic needs such as copy machines, paper and doors on bathroom stalls, Damon says.

Boston Education Justice Alliance Executive Director Ruby Reyes said the lack of adequate investment in schools affects the quality of education students receive.

“Many schools lack libraries, art and music, and other important elements of a good, 21st century education,” she said in a statement to the media. “Every Boston schools should be a good school. In a world-class city of rapidly growing wealth, there is no excuse for shortchanging our children.”

Reyes’ group is calling for the city to pressure hospitals, universities and other nonprofits to increase their Payments in Lieu of Taxes contributions to help close the funding gap in Boston schools, in addition to seeking more state funding.