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Boston School Committee Passes Budget, With 500 Layoffs

This article is more than 11 years old.

The Boston School Committee has approved an $812 million budget for the next school year. In a unanimous vote last night, the members passed a plan that includes cutting more than 500 staff positions, 200 of them in the classroom.

The committee reached its decision at a public meeting in Dorchester, where the mood was tense at times.

Parents and students pleaded last night with the Boston school committee and Superintendent Carol Johnson not to cut school spending. As Dorchester parent Michael Heishman put it,

MICHAEL HEISHMAN: Dr. Johnson and members of the school committee, you have choices. You do not have to vote for something that is harmful and destructive to our children. Dr. King would not vote for this budget. Jesus of Nazareth would not vote for this budget. And you should not be voting to harm our children.

This budget is not as bad as it was. Mayor Menino initially asked the city to cut 5.5 percent of school spending, which represented more than 900 positions. But after public outcry from students and parents, Menino kicked in $25 million more from city coffers, and money from the federal stimulus package also saved some jobs, but not enough. So, Menino has asked the teachers union to accept a wage freeze to close the budget gap and prevent layoffs.

This program aired on March 26, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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