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Johnson Proposes More Boston School Closures

BOSTON — Update: The BPS reveals its list of proposed school closures.

In an effort to address a projected $63 million budget gap next year, Boston Schools Superintendent Carol Johnson is unveiling a plan to close or merge more than a dozen schools.

Carol Johnson

Carol Johnson

Speaking to Morning Edition Thursday, Johnson called it a difficult, but necessary, decision.

“If we don’t take this course of action, we won’t be able to provide the strong academic program across the system that’s necessary to continue the academic improvements that we’ve begun,” Johnson said.

A previous version of Johnson’s plan — which would have shuttered or merged eight schools — stirred up criticism, especially among parents, students and staff in schools slated for closure. They said decisions were based on faulty data and the process was rushed.

Johnson says the latest iteration of the plan is intended to be forward-looking.

“I think this plan tries to reposition us so that we can change our course of direction and really not make drastic cuts to all schools, but really focus on how we can improve academics across the district for the long-term,” she said.

Johnson says she’ll also be looking for concessions from the teachers union.

But Richard Stutman, president of the Boston Teachers Union, says the plan does not take into consideration the long-term needs of the district.

“I don’t see how anyone can say closing three or four, five elementary schools that work is a good idea,” Stutman said. “It’s just not the case.”

Stutman says the plan would create a two-tiered system in which students with difficulties would not be able to attend smaller schools.

“Those students will be housed in larger schools that I think are impersonal and somewhat like warehouses,” he said.

Johnson presents the plan to the Boston School Committee at a public meeting Thursday night. The committee is expected to vote on the plan later this month.

– Here’s Johnson’s school closure plan (on Scribd):

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  • Glenna M

    As a veteran parent of 5 years at the Lee Academy Pilot School, the proposed “merger” of our school is not acceptable. It is not a merger but a reduction of our K0-5 academic and family oriented community to now K0-1st. We do not want a traditional, larger BPS school, and transferring to a larger 2-8 school, simply because it exists in the same building is not an option. The Lee Academy Pilot School already offers all of the “extras” Supt. Johnson is promising schools in the future (arts, science, technology, I can go on…) In addition we have a wait list for almost every grade – no issue of vacant seats here, only families eager for their children to receive the same enriching education my children are.

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