In State Of The City, Mayor Walsh Promises To Up School Funding, Tackle Inequality

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Mayor Marty Walsh is promising fair and sustainable funding for all public schools in Boston, not just charter schools. Those remarks, during his second State of the City address last night, came as teachers and parents protested outside a packed Symphony Hall.

Walsh is also touting the city's progress on crime and promising to make sure the working class can still call Boston home.

Touting A Reduction In Crime

During his speech, Walsh said the city is the safest it’s been since 1999.

“Violent crime and property crime went down for the second-straight year, and homicides fell to a 16-year low," he said.

After the speech, Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins said he would have liked to have heard more about resources for substance abuse and mental health programs to keep people out of jail.

"There are people that are in my facility that should be in a substance abuse bed or mental health bed," Tompkins said.

Promises To Boost Funding For All Boston Schools

Walsh's speech came a week after General Electric announced that it would move its global headquarters to Boston. GE is expected to land in the booming Seaport District.

“It’s a magnet for talent and investment that we’ll direct toward our shared goals: in opportunity, in community, in education,” Walsh said.

He called the Boston Public Schools his priority, and he promised to increase funding for the schools.

That message was lost on protesters outside Symphony Hall, who marched against what they see as Walsh’s focus on charter schools at the expense of other public schools.

"Mayor Marty Walsh needs to pay more attention and give more funding to Boston Public Schools, not keep building more charter schools and other programs," said one of the protesters, Krystle McClure, of Dorchester. "Fund our Boston public schools!"

Walsh denounced what he called adults pitting schools against one another during his speech Tuesday.

“Tonight, I’m calling on everyone to come together to back all our children, all our teachers and all our schools," he said. "That means fair and sustainable funding for both district and charter schools.”

Addressing The City's Income Inequality

In an effort to help average Bostonians stay in their communities in the face of soaring housing prices, Walsh announced the creation of an Office of Housing Stability.

“It’s going to develop resources for tenants, incentives for landlords who do the right thing and partnerships with developers to keep more of our housing affordable,” he explained.

The mayor spoke of economic inequality in Boston and said he wants to empower workers in the city. He touted a city apprenticeship program that includes on-the-job training and education for low-income workers.

He also asked employers to join with workers in exploring the possibility of creating a minimum wage in the city of $15 per hour.

Last year, Walsh announced his intention to steer development around the Orange Line in Jamaica Plain and the Red Line in South Boston. On Tuesday, he announced that Dudley Square, in Roxbury, and Glover’s Corner, in Dorchester, would see similar transit-oriented development.

You can watch the mayor's second State of the City address here.

This segment aired on January 20, 2016.


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Fred Thys Reporter
Fred Thys reported on politics and higher education for WBUR.



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