School-move plan approved

June 1, 2012
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The City Council approved by a 12-1 vote on May 23 the Boston Public Schools’ (BPS) controversial school-move plan. Councilor Mike Ross, who lives in and represents Mission Hill, was the lone dissenting vote.

The plan calls for several schools to move, including the Mission Hill K-8 School going to the now-vacant Agassiz School in Jamaica Plain. New Mission High School, which currently shares the 67 Alleghany St. building with the K-8 school, is moving to the now-vacant Hyde Park High School building.

The state recently withheld reconstruction money to the City because the Hyde Park building is vacant and that violated funding rules.

Fenway High School will move into the 67 Allegheny St. building, which will undergo reconstruction. New Mission and K-8 will move in time for the next school year, while Fenway will be moved the following year.

The K-8 school leaving Mission Hill has angered many residents and they had an online petition trying to prevent the move.

Ross had added an amendment that would have excluded the K-8 school from the plan, but that was defeated by an 8-5 vote.

“It’s very disappointing,” Bob Goodman, a K-8 parent, said about the council’s vote. “It’s wrong of the City Council and BPS to uproot a school from its neighborhood. It’s harmful to children.”

He added, “The council has put politics ahead of children, neighborhoods and communities.”

Mayor Thomas Menino, who spoke during a sit-down lunch with reporters the day after the council vote, said the plan is about giving young people the opportunity to go to better schools.

“It’s about the common good,” said Menino.

He added later, “Some people wanted to play politics. I won’t play politics with kids.”

When asked by the Gazette about residents’ concern about the K-8 leaving their community, Menino said Mission Hill will still have an elementary school with the Tobin K-8 School and that the Mission K-8 School will be able to have better structure at the new location.

“We weren’t leaving Mission Hill without an elementary school,” said Menino.

Ross said in an interview with the Gazette before the vote that the BPS rushed the process and mistakes were made because of that.

“This is a bad plan because it injures a school community,” said Ross. “Superintendent [Carol] Johnson said as much [during a May 17 meeting.] She apologized for what it does to the Mission Hill community. But that falls on deaf ears if she’s not willing to change the plan.”

2 Responses to School-move plan approved

  1. SaveMission HillSchool on June 1, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    The
    Mayor’s rhetoric is disappointing, to say the least. When did harm to
    children become the common good?
    And why position a successful, in-demand school, which BPS and the mayor
    have categorized as “excellent,” as  interchangeable with any  other local elementary? Does Roxbury need less “access to excellence” than other neighborhoods? A key question now will be whether BPS and the city will honor its prebious commitments to take the time necessaru to properly prepare the Agassiz building for occupancy by MHS and bring the building up to safety, fire, and health codes, or will once again decide to short-change the children of the Mission Hill School.

  2. Irene Rotondo on June 2, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I wonder why the City Councilors buckled, except Ross, pretty questionable if you ask me. Who is Menino referring to when he said “some people wanted to play politics”? And if he thinks he’s not “playing politics with kids”, what do you call what is happening?  If MHS moves, will the Tobin be able to accommodate all the kids living in that area, what condition is the Tobin in?  I hope there are legal avenues that MHS can take to stay in their current location, and not be forced to move to JP. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, this “shake up” is all because of the “highly sought after” BAA, and their desire to expand.

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