Recommit $33 million directly to the Boston Public Schools.
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Please sign the petition and demand that in FY 2019 Mayor Walsh, Superintendent Chang and the Boston School Committee commit an additional $33 million dollars, or $580 more per student, in funding directly to the Boston Public Schools in FY 2019.
Although it is often touted that the Boston Public Schools budget has increased over the past 3 years, and is now the largest ever, the percentage of the increase budgeted at the school level is minimal. Specifically, funding for BPS has increased $55,994,871 (simple year over year) over the past 3 years, but only about $8.5 million dollars of this has made it's way directly to the school budgets! Consider the following:
- fiscal year 2016, funds to BPS increased by $23,370,458. Only 17% of this, or approximately $4 million, was directly budgeted to our schools.
- fiscal year 2017, funds to BPS increased by just $3,788,546. Almost 60% of this, or about $2 million, went directly to the schools.
- fiscal year 2018 (last year), funds to BPS increased by $28,835,567. Only 8%, or a little over $2 million, went directly to the schools.
For there to have been a true 3% increase in funds going directly to the schools, the actual increase would have been about $14 million dollar a year. Yet instead, the average increase in funding directly to schools has been less than a $3 million per year. Because of the rising costs and small increases many schools begin their years with a deficit - not even funded enough to complete the year. Despite the allocation of $2-3 million in new opportunity index funds, these deficits are occurring again today.
These deficits have resulted in year after year losses for our schools including losing libraries, librarians, art teachers, science teachers, music programs, gym teachers or other academic specialists. Specific examples include:
-Retiring teachers are not being replaced. In 2016 alone, one high school lost a librarian, a math teacher, a science teacher, a history teacher, a theatre teacher, AP World History and AP Biology. Additionally, they lost SAT Prep classes.
-Lost funding for partnerships such as Play Works, Music Programs and Family Services. School communities spend hundreds of hours fundraising for these partnerships each year.
-Programs such as Diploma Plus, an alternative educational program, are now reliant on private funding.
-Schools lost funding for field trips, which are crucial to providing background knowledge to students.
-Despite increases in our English Language Learners population, ELL teachers have been cut throughout the system, even at schools that have an increase in English Language Learners.
-Decrease in technology classes.
-Decrease in language programs.
-Cuts to Special Education positions.
-Decrease in availability of high school courses required for college entry.
-Additionally, although funding comes from central office and not the schools, a number of schools do not have full time nurses. Parents of students at these schools must hope that medical emergencies occur during the working hours of the school nurse. In some cases, schools service students who have medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy or allergies, that could require medication within minutes, yet they only have nurses on staff half the day.
BPS proclaims that “a budget is a statement of our values.” With continuous cuts directly to the schools, it is unclear what those values are! The recent BPS budgets have forced our schools to carry a fundraising burden for basic educational needs and have put them in the unjust position of choosing between a librarian or a science teacher. Across BPS, our schools are being asked to cut into critical services, some even threatened with closure.
As stated by Boston School Committee Chair, Michael Loconto, “[t]hat is how we make this city better. By bringing the tools children need to succeed. Education unlocks those tools.” Please help us put the funding back behind those tools.
Our schools should have councillors and ELL teachers, full time nurses and art teachers. The department of education requires physical education for our kids, but funding for this requirement is not provided. We need special education co-ordinators and science teachers, and libraries and librarians should be a given. Remember -the only thing that costs more than educating our kids, is not educating our kids.
According to Boston Municipal Research Bureau, Boston has built $10 billion dollars of new construction in 2018. This tax revenue should allow for $33 million to be restored directly to the schools. For FY 2019 BPS must recommit the money directly at the school level to cover services lost over the past three years and to cover the ongoing increase in basic costs.
Our children deserve better. The time is now - sign & share this petition, let’s ensure that the BPS budget is a true statement of what Boston values. #33for3
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