School moves are approved despite opposition

Despite fierce opposition from parents and City Councilor Mike Ross, the Boston School Committee on Nov. 15 approved a Boston Public Schools plan that will have two Mission Hill schools moving out of the neighborhood next year.

The plan moves the Mission Hill K-8 School to Jamaica Plain and New Mission High School to Hyde Park. There are no plans to change the schools’ names despite their moves to other neighborhoods. In a swap, Fenway High would move into the 67 Alleghany St. building now shared by the Mission Hill schools. And the Edward Kennedy Academy for Health Careers would move into the Farragut School.

Critics of the move say it undermines Mission Hill by taking away elementary school seats, and that the decision was made too quickly. There are also concerns that Mission K-8 is moving into an unhealthy building, the former Agassiz Elementary. The New Mission High move is generally supported, because both schools get more space in the plan.

The moves are part of a Facilities plan that also expands, moves or creates nine other schools.

The Facilities Plan encountered stiff opposition from Mission Hill K-8 parents and advocates from that neighborhood, including Ross, who represents Mission Hill. He threatened to withhold his vote on the upcoming BPS budget if the plan went through.

Ross told the Gazette he is opposed to the move because his City Council district, which also includes Fenway, the Back Bay and Beacon Hill, already has few elementary school seats. He and other community members expressed concerns that the removal of the school would take away an incentive for young families to move to the Hill, at a time when the neighborhood is being overrun by college students.

1 comment for “School moves are approved despite opposition

  1. November 18, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    states that their relocation plan increases access to excellence. Yet
    moving MHS removes walk-zone priority access to this “high-performing”
    school for the 4 housing developments within a 1-mile radius of Alleghany
    Street: Mission Main, Alice Taylor, Mission Park and Bromley Heath. Dr.
    Johnson’s plan erodes equity in the city.

    Hill School has deep roots in its neighborhood with many partnerships
    established over years. Those will be lost. More than half of our
    families chose the school based on walkability. An untold number chose
    us due to our location on their feasible daily route, which includes
    other siblings’ schools and parents’ workplace. Not all of us can make
    the move. Children who cannot make the move lose a whole world of nurturing connections; children who can move lose classmates, their community eroded.

    Some will not transfer because the Agassiz’ failed design has
    assured that no school placed there has ever succeeded. The debunked
    “open classroom” plan will overwhelm the children’s senses. The meager
    natural light shining through the few windows will stymie them, and the
    ventilation issues cannot be solved. Some children’s
    respiratory vulnerability will not allow their parents to experiment with a sick
    building. This is an assault on a small
    but thriving community in Mission Hill, a disenfranchised neighborhood
    that is being targeted again by the “global” interests of our city’s top
    administration. Jamaica Plain has been depicted as the winner in this situation. But a destabilized school in substandard facilities is
    not a gain for JP.  JP should use its greater clout and revenue to lobby for the restoration of Mission Hill School’s citywide status. That way everyone gains, and JP’s reputation for social consciousness is upheld.

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