Monday, February 9, 2009

Parent Meeting with City Councilor

"They are going to have the debt for 
this for the rest of their lives 
and we're not going to educate them to handle it."

"Where is the outrage on the part of the superintendent, 
why aren't they advocating for the kids, for education?"

"The time is now for bold decisions"

Quotes from tonight's meeting at a parent's house with City Councilor John Tobin - not sure who said which one.... The parent was incredibly generous to open up her home to others and even  had sandwiches in case people were coming from work.  I learned that there are really great parents at all these schools who I wished I was meeting under different circumstances and that:

  1. The school committee is appointed by the mayor.
  2. The school committee was offered the chance to hold their Feb 4th meeting in city council chambers so more parents could attend. They turned it down, met at Court street, and turned kids away and parents away -they treated people they are supposed to represent horribly.
  3. There are no school committee members representing West Roxbury, East Boston, or Allston/Brighton.
  4.  Some school committee members don't attend any of the budget hearings, one woman, ?Helen?, from JP does a lot of work and takes it seriously.
  5. The school committee came up with a budget that involved no-thought and is anti-education - no targeted, thoughtful budgeting or elimination of waste - just firing a lot of teachers impacting some schools (my child's) more than others. They are running a system with almost a billion dollars when you add in grants for 57,000 students and they cannot figure out how to disperse it.   There are huge amounts of administrative waste - duplication of services and millions spent on transporting  students around the city on almost empty buses.
  6. The councilor worked on a plan to create more equitable neighborhood zones several years ago and it didn't pass.
  7. Non-profits own 53% of the land  in Boston - don't pay taxes - why not make them each adopt a school???
  8. Wednesday, 10-12 there is a meeting for the school committee to present their budget to the city council and we are invited.
  9. March 28th school committee sends budget to Boston City Council, John Connelly acting chair of education on the Council.
  10. Teachers were given notice, pulled out of classes in tears in front of the students. The Councilor said the process is still early, the budget isn't set in stone until June 30th but I think so much damage has already been done.
  11. We should push hard on the state to pass the increase meals tax and lobby the school committee and demand responses.
  12. So, yes the economy is bad and local aid has dropped but really, in the end, the school committee has hundreds of millions of dollars to work with.

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