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October 25, 2012
School Choice
By Bill Linehan

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has taken part in the Boston Public Schools choice process.  The School Committee, the External Advisory Committee, Supt. Johnson, elected officials and most importantly, parents and residents deserve much credit for all the progress made.  Last week’s meeting at the Condon was another key step in returning to neighborhood schools.

I have taken a hard look at all the proposals made to date.  I feel that each proposal demonstrates a good faith effort to improve the Boston Public Schools.  One thing is for sure, the current three zone assignment system is not working for Boston.  We need to shrink the zones substantially and guarantee a seat at one of the closest schools to your home. Grandfathering of current students and siblings needs to be honored. With the importance of parent involvement in the success of a school, splitting siblings needs to be avoided.

I have been advocating for a return to neighborhood schools since I was first elected.  As the grandfather of BPS students, I want to ensure that the new plan that will determine the prospects of my grandkid's education is a good one.  

As a district City Councilor I’ve worked tirelessly with administrators, faculty, students and parents to improve schools in my district.  My office also fields many calls regarding school assignment, bus transportation and other school related questions and concerns.  I believe the best way to improve Boston Public Schools, reduce transportation costs and provide choices close to home are to align the new school assignment districts with the nine Boston City Council districts.  I believe the Boston City Council wants to be more invested and accountable in the school choice process.  The City Council should also be given the opportunity to approve all members of the BPS School board.

At last year’s budget hearing, my colleagues and I called upon the School Department to present a comprehensive plan for transportation, educational improvement and facility improvement before submitting another budget to the City Council.  The meeting at the Condon school allowed South Boston residents to have their voice heard in this important process and the high turnout was proof of its necessity.  I want to commend the Boston Public Schools for coming out to South Boston and hosting their 14th school choice meeting at the Condon School. I look forward to hearing directly from parents and residents in the next few weeks, as the many proposals put forward are worked upon to make the best changes for the future of our children.

District 2 City Councilor

Bill Linehan



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