Letters to the Editor

Liberal Hypocrisy

To the Editor,

You had a very good article on the current Opiod Crisis in New England. However in flagrant display of Liberal Hypocrisy – three of our leading law enforcement officers – Healy, Rollins and Ryan, two district attorneys and an A.G. suing to keep illegal immigrants guilty of crimes out of the Fed. I.C.E. Law Enforcement authority. The criminals are suspect of murder and drugs – M.S.13 have already killed two in East Boston. And Healy, Rollins and Ryan preach about the horrors of Opiod! “Liberal Hypocrisy.”

Peter A. Gravallese

To Mayor Walsh, Superintendent Perille and CFO Handy

To the Editor,

Schools in District One and East Boston in particular, are facing challenges with regards to Boston Public Schools funding and the availability of middle school seats.

Economic pressures in our housing market and the current mechanism for school funding have contributed to a chain reaction. As families are displaced from East Boston, declining school enrollment erodes budgetary support and results in reductions in staff at area schools. To put this concretely, District One schools are facing a multi-million dollar funding cut, with over $1.2 million cut from East Boston High School alone.

Meanwhile, school principals, teachers, parents and students are eager to expand 6th grader or overall middle school seats in East Boston. School leaders in particular have requested expansion to 6th grade. Today, many East Boston children presently are bused in Charlestown. Significant development planned for both the East Boston and Charlestown communities and projected population growth make it clear there will be an ongoing need for local school options, and additional seats, for both communities.

On Jan. 14, Boston Public Schools invited feedback on a draft set of guidelines for K-6 expansions for SY s0-21 and SY 21-22 outside of major reconfigurations. The following criteria was proposed in order for K5 schools to be considered:

The school must remain within existing space without “substantial” new construction.

Preference to spaces that will maintain 21st century learning spaces i.e. intervention, science, arts, and music programs.

Must accommodate all general educational standards and specialized populations rising to the sixth grade.

Assessment of financial and enrollment implications to feeder school district wide.

Appropriate level of awareness on the part of the school community with regard to feeder patterns.

Of the schools in East Boston, the following meet the draft criteria as proposed: Samuel Adams Elementary School, Manassah E.  Bradley Elementary School, Curtis Guild Elementary School, James Otis Elementary School, Hugh Roe O’Donnell Elementary School and the Patrick J. Kennedy Elementary School. The principals of each school has expressed enthusiasm for expansion as soon as SY 19-20.

With the pending acquisitions of a building on Paris Street and declining enrollment at East Boston High School leading to available classroom space, we believe that BPS is able to begin transitioning East Boston students from Charlestown schools to local schools in East Boston. For example, East Boston High School has indicated that they have a two-year plan to transition the school into 7-12 school, which would both help save funding for the school and save the district on transporting East Boston middle school students to Charlestown. EBHS also confirmed they are willing to lend swing space for sixth grade classrooms as well.

As discussed at a recent council hearing on school transportation, there are instances of students with IEP’s that currently ride the school bus longer than allowed by their IEP on occasion. We believe that if these students attended local schools instead, instances of this type could be minimized if not eliminated.

During that hearing, the council requested data on the costs of busing East Boston students to Charlestown. BPS Transportation has since noted that, based on the number of routes in October 2018, such costs exceeded $380,000. Additionally, two routes have since been added, presumably pushing costs in excess of $400,000. We would appreciate further dialogue with the administration on the potential for expansion of middle school seats in East Boston to soften transportation cost incurred when transporting children between these two neighborhoods.

These proposed funding changes are untenable for District One and will disproportionately impact families already facing extreme economic pressures. As we work through the budgetary process, we hope the expansion of sixth grade seats in East Boston, an analysis of school transportation patterns and costs within District One, and other creative interventions, can ease out path toward productive resolution.

We look forward to your response and continued dialogue during the FY20 budget process.


Lydia Edwards

Boston City Councilor

District One

Annissa Essaibi-George

Boston City Councilor At Large

Chair, Committee on Education

Andrea Campbell

Boston City Council President

Councilor, District Four

Michelle Wu

Boston City Councilor At Large

Michael Flaherty

Boston City Councilor At Large

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