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Boston, DESE agree on improvement plan for public schools

The search for Boston Public Schools' new superintendent has been narrowed down to two candidates. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The search for Boston Public Schools' new superintendent has been narrowed down to two candidates. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

State and Boston officials reached agreement Monday on an improvement plan for the Boston Public Schools, foreclosing a vote planned for Tuesday that would have cleared the way for additional state oversight.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education was set to vote Tuesday morning on Commissioner Jeff Riley's recommendation that the district be labeled underperforming, a move that would allow him to appoint a monitor and require the district to submit an improvement plan for state approval.

The recommendation came in response to a blistering state report last month that said the district falls short in key areas including special education and transportation. Riley said he was seeking the vote after his team and Mayor Michelle Wu's could not agree on a systemic improvement plan after more than a month of talks.

The Executive Office of Education said Monday night that Boston and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education "were able to finalize the Systemic Improvement Plan today, and therefore Commissioner Riley will not ask the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to vote to declare the district underperforming."

"Under this plan, BPS and the City of Boston will take immediate action to address longstanding deficiencies in special education, English learner instruction, student safety and transportation, along with other problems detailed in DESE's recent district review," office spokesperson Colleen Quinn said. "DESE will hire an independent auditor to ensure accuracy of data, and provide $10 million in financial support and technical assistance. The department is very pleased that BPS and the City will now move forward to improve the educational experiences for all children in the City of Boston."

The city and school district's commitments under the plan run through June 30, 2025.

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