Hey, there! Log in / Register

Wu proposes $2-billon upgrade to Boston school buildings

To make them work better and more energy efficient, WHDH reports.

Neighborhoods: 

Ad:
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

Close, consolidate and upgrade. The city is flush with cash and needed to do this.

up
32

And she comes looking for more money because they spent it all on free buses and other giveaways.

Thankfully, I’ll be out of Boston by then because I’m sure in her eyes I’m the type of person that ‘needs to pay my fair share’ even though my effective tax rate is over 35%.

up
56

Do people who flee to the suburbs never consider what the increased T ridership caused by fair elimination might do to traffic on their commutes?

up
10

I’m going to a different state.

New Hampshire is a Boston suburb.

No offense to anyone in NH, but I’d never be caught up there. Don’t guess Florida either. Same applies to that place too.

This isn’t an airport, you don’t need to announce your departure.

up
31

My departure is relevant to the context of what I posted.

Look around, its tanking as we speak (type).

I’m a 4th generation Bostonian, I left last year. Best decision I’ve ever made. Can’t raise kids in BPS.

I’m no expert, but I don’t think we’re even close to the bottom. Things are going to get really bad, really soon - no baby formula (how is this a thing?), gas prices continue to soar each week, mortgage rates are higher than they’ve ever been since 2009, inflation continues to go up, stock market continues to tank, etc. This whole spending frivolously while things are good seems like a recipe for disaster with what’s looming. Fingers crossed I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.

We’re both very excited to try something outside of Boston and it’s great we won’t have to deal with BPS. Good to hear you’re still happy with your decision to leave. I seriously doubt we’ll regret this decision and can always visit for a weekend if we do.

While I wasn’t as bold as you, I only moved a few miles out of Boston because all my family is still there.

But no regrets as of today.

Moving on to greener, warmer pastures. Just need this custom house to finish and we’re outta here.

up
16

LOL, "custom house", aka the builder let me pick between a few cookie cutter designs and I picked out some finishes and where a dormer goes / if its a 2 or 3 car garage. I can picture who Robo is just by reading his comments.

Regardless of the city is going down the tubes, investment in our teachers, education and schools is the cornerstone of supporting the next generation of humans who will run this world. While I don't know much of anything about this plan, I support upgrading schools, supporting our teachers and investing in our next generation regardless if they have a "custom house" or they live in the projects.

It’s a completely custom house. We designed everything and the builder put zero restrictions on us. We architected the house, selected all the finishes, designed the pool, porches, and landscaping. It wasn’t cheap and we looked at some of those cookie cutter places you’re referencing and couldn’t get out of there quick enough. Every single house in our new neighborhood is completely custom and not a single one looks even remotely similar.

Nice try though.

?

I do, anon!

Didn't they get the money for the three bus routes from federal COVID funds? Isn't that federal money supposed to be spent on projects if they're receiving it? They can't exactly put it in the bank - it's not like if they paved roads or built a park with it that would be any less "free" stuff, it's money from the feds that they have no choice but to spend.

Doesn't Massachusetts have a flat income tax? Aren't municipalities unable to issue income taxes? How exactly would the mayor of Boston force you to "pay your fair share"? I can certainly understand how people might not like a Progressive mayor, but at least be honest and informed in your criticisms of Wu. Seems like most of your gripes should be aimed at the State House or Federal government (or COL, which I also complain about!) There seems to be this vitriol towards Wu that seems out of place when, realistically, she hasn't done much and most of her power is restrained by the State. Portray your criticisms accurately and honestly.

up
15

You asked a lot of questions. I’ll do my best to answer them.

If I’m renovating my house and spending 100k to do so. You come along and give me 50k for nothing. I can take that 50k and only have to dip into my savings for the other 50k to get the job done. The other 50k is still in the bank so yes, you can effectively save that 50k you gave me.

She can’t increase the MA income tax, but she can increase property taxes in the name of BPS or other BS when in reality it’s because a lack of good budgeting. She’s already talking about adding a 2% transfer tax on high value properties. Additionally, she’s lobbying for a millionaire’s surtax of 4% in addition to the flat MA tax. NYC does it. Do you really think Boston can’t do it too? She has ways to make the rich pay their fair share to make up budgeting mistakes.

I actually think Wu is doing a pretty good job. I get very nervous about her spending a lot of money almost immediately after taking office especially considering the state of the economy.

Tanks for the memories?

I'm interested in your prediction that the economy will tank. What will this tanking consist of? Right now the economy is overheated, with record low unemployment, the return of inflation, and decreased governmental deficits. It's pretty much the opposite of tanking.

So what's about to change?

Inflation is at a 41-year high. Everything costs more. Stock market is going south quick. This is drying up wealth, capital gain tax revenues, and corporate spending/hiring. Gas prices continue to record record highs as the months tick away. Mortgage rates are at 5.3% for a 30-year fixed mortgage. Highest they’ve been since 2009.

There’s a storm brewing as people are getting squeezed with cost increases across the board. Tax revenues are going to drop significantly and unemployment will rise as we continue down this path.

Again, this is all my .02 and I hope I’m wrong, but seriously doubt it.

You predict tax revenues will drop significantly, and unemployment will rise.

Unemployment rising is a fairly safe bet; it hasn't been this low in fifty years. Business are struggling to hire people. If someone told you corporate hiring is down, they don't know what they're talking about; they're hiring anybody with a pulse.

As for tax revenues dropping significantly, I don't see how that's compatible with full employment and inflation.

Tucker has to feed him the rest of his lines

I’m a democrat, but keep throwing around your nonsense.

You must be one of those far left dems that’s destroying this country just like the right.

Will this be paid for by restaurant owners in the north end? Just kidding, those guys are such crybabies.

Long overdue. It is a embarrassment that a city like Boston who prides itself in history, education and equality has schools in such a state. The last major work done for the schools is the show "Boston Public" - and that's saying something.

If we pay stadium fees, and airport fees, and massport fees, why can't we have 'school fees' for out of towners?

Also, I don't think charter schools are inherently terrible, I think taking tax money as vouchers away from criminally underfunded public schools are the issue.

Also, I'm surprised there isn't more BLS bitching on the site today.

Generally the problem with Charters is they have high suspension/expulsion/"not invited back" rates. So while in MA acceptance to a charter is by lottery, once an accepted class is a few years in, they've managed to get rid of not only kids with any behavioral issues, but usually high needs/ESL/poor performing kids, shunting them back into the publics. Then charters turn around and brag about their good results / testing / college acceptance rates, and meanwhile, the kids that are the hardest and most expensive to educate become a disproportionate percentage of every public school classroom, leading more good performers to seek out Charters as an alternative.

up
10

Yes. Public schools have a legal obligation to serve all children and when they can't they are obligated to finance their education elsewhere. Charters have the option to turn students away and they use this to systematically exclude "problem" children who would bring with them higher special ed and discipline costs and lower test scores.

Do you really prefer consolidating schools to having smaller neighborhood schools?

I get that it saves overhead, but the better answer to that is by getting by with less overhead per school.

Boston doesn't have neighborhood schools so that's kind of a false comparison

It's the American way to spend a lot on fancy buildings while ignoring the quality of the education.

There's no reason why an "outdated" building should be considered bad for virtually all things that occur in a school. I say spend the money on improving the teaching, reducing class size, adding arts programs, etc.

Energy efficiency upgrades often make sense since they pay for themselves.

on a pig

up
32

what, just knock the buildings down? Leave them unfixed? We do have 70k kids in the city which need classrooms and BPS provides them for 50k of the kids. Parochials and charters can't bridge the gap. Good faith efforts and real money to fix stuff is better than doing nothing.

up
47

BPS schools are the way they are because of intense economic segregation. Poverty causes worse educational outcomes for students so schools with more poor kids in them do worse on metrics like testing while requiring more funding per student for things like special education programs. Schools with better test scores virtually always have a greater share of students with middle and upper household incomes.

Nevertheless the most vocal critics of BPS never seem to be calling for less segregation or funding that is commensurate with the needs of students living in poverty. No no no, the solution is of course to keep sending little Jimmy to his parochial school or at least a public school in a white flight suburb and to lobby for more privatization of public education.

up
14

Can someone remind me about to what is going to happen with the Irving building in Roslindale? Between the Irving and the WREC, this part of the city is losing classrooms steadily. It's good to see some real money being put towards improving facilities.

I'm betting they will consolidate most of the K-6 programs there -- and then shed some of the current small-sized elementary schools.

Is there a timeline on Irving? And it seems like there’s no real plan for WREC — big unusable building, no plan to tear it down or build a new one.

The whole dashboard appears to be at this URL. Which I hope works.

http://track.spe.schoolmessenger.com/f/a/yVtwu_tvStrI1xW_LKJA1Q~~/AAAAAQ...

"The Irving Middle School will close at the end of this school year, and BPS previously announced that it would be repurposed as a PK-6 school. We’ll dedicate $5.2 million in FY23 to upgrade the building facilities at the Irving building to facilitate a reconfiguration to an elementary school, and we’ll engage with several Roslindale school communities—including the Sumner, the Philbrick, the Bates, the Conley and the Mozart—to determine which schools will ultimately merge into a renovated elementary school in the Irving building."

... so nothing soon but at the end of the day one of the smaller schools (probably the Bates or Mozart) will get the axe.

The Sumner and Philbrick will merge. They are closest to the Irving, and their land is probably worth more. Or they will just move the Sumner, and we will be sparring about how many parking spaces go into that development in 10 years time.

... but it seems like if there are ponds on two sides of your build and a capped landfill on a third, you are going to need to really, really have your shit dialed in to prevent exactly what happened here. Then again, it's not like the whole Back Bay wasn't built on a filled-in swamp...

They couldn't figure out how to put a commuter rail stop right there.

And many other local universities have buildings that are 100 or more years old and still in use. The reason is that they were maintained, updated and renovated. That Boston did not have a serious capital plan for its schools until now is a disgrace. The need is real, and kudos to Wu for allocating money and staff to address it.

up
18

Made you look! Sucker!

So now the buildings will be more energy efficient but the education will still be old, worn and useless. New buildings...same uneducated kids coming in and out of it. Nice work.

up
34

What, you want an entrance exam for k-1 to screen out the uneducated 5 year olds?

The BPS facilities are not the issue. New buildings do not equate to a better education. Plenty of educated kids come out of 100 year old buildings that don't have solar panels on them.

New buildings...same system...same poor results.

up
29

But it's hard to learn in a building where you're freezing cold, or sweating to death, or sneezing constantly because of dust (and who knows what else), where none of the water fountains work so you're thirsty, etc, etc...

Insane what certain people expect kids to put up with and do the work of learning when a lot of those same people will semi-professionally throw a fit if they're expected to sit in a conference room that's two degrees too hot for a 45 min meeting.

It sounds like a dog whistle comment but I'd like to hear why it's not.

up
14

When was the last time you stepped foot in a BPS building? A major cause for the extended closures during Covid was that lack of modern ventilation in virtually all BPS buildings. Additionally, a lot of things of this list are basic maintenance (new roofs) or investments that will lower operating costs (new heating systems). This may have zero effect on test scores but the city is legally obligated to provide a safe environment for kids in school buildings which generally means rain not coming through the ceiling and classrooms above 50 degrees in the winter.

up
13

I think the diversion serves a different purpose.

BPS has to close a lot of school buildings. It has a lot of empty seats, empty classrooms.

Everybody look at the new shiny school we're building, not the two we're closing.

It's not just about diverting attention from school closures. It's also about being able to point to some sort of win -- i.e. "We're fighting climate change!" -- while still miserably failing at what constituents believe the primary mission of BPS is -- to educate children. Ignore that the real primary mission of BPS is to provide guaranteed employment to BTU members.

$2 billion for contractors?? … smdh. How about increase teachers’ pay to attract top quality talent. It’s supposed to be about city students and their education not fancy buildings!

Boston has the 5th highest average salary in the state.

https://profiles.doe.mass.edu/statereport/teachersalaries.aspx

For far too long, every additional dollar allocated to education in the city has gone directly to BTU's members. That's why the building are in their current state, many unrepairable.

Also, wasn't one of the major BTU talking points about refusing to return to in person learning, the current state of HVAC systems in the school buildings. Doesn't this address a major concern of the union?

Newton which is one of the best school systems in the state, has an average salary of $88K vs Boston's $105K. The old argument of pay us more for the kids is no longer working.

PS $105K an year with SUMMERS OFF!

stop saying that.

also what is the argument? that teachers are paid too much? you don’t want to spend on the buildings either, or else you wouldn’t have posted here. what should the city spend its education budget on?

I've been around long enough to know that capital planning at BPS isn't the issue. The reality is that they don't know what they want to do, so buildings will be rebuilt only to have those schools close. And I am specifically thinking about the Hyde Park Educational Complex and how that fiasco played out.

Perhaps it would be best to get a new superintendent in before the future of the schools is carved in stone.

BPS is a money pit, throw some more money in and hope things change
This is from the Email BPS sent out, they are calling it the "green new deal"
...

.. The majority of our school buildings were built before World War II, and too many lack the basic infrastructure they need—bathrooms with doors that lock; sinks with running water; libraries, science labs, gyms, and auditoriums —let alone the technology and resources for our students to have a world-class education. For our young people to reach their full potential, we need a large-scale shift in how we manage our Boston Public Schools (BPS) facilities. To build healthy and nurturing physical environments and align with our broader civic goals of equity, opportunity, and engagement, we need a Green New Deal for BPS.