School moves are approved despite opposition

November 17, 2011
By

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.