Council approves school-relocation plan, but warns BPS: No more
A divided City Council today approved a plan that moves seven schools around and creates two new schools, but even councilors who voted in favor told School Superintendent Carol Johnson and School Committee Chairman Gregory Groover they're skating on thin ice.
Councilor Ayanna Pressley (at large) said the $20-million plan, which will mean 1,400 new seats in what BPS says are high-performing schools, forced her to vote for a plan that moves the Mission Hill K-8 School to Jamaica Plain. But she said she will never again vote for a BPS capital request unless officials pair it with a comprehensive five or ten-year plan. The council has final say over borrowing for large-scale capital projects.
Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury), said he was outraged that BPS proposed musical chairs a year after it shut ten schools and as it's beginning to study a new school-assignment plan.
Jackson voted with councilors Frank Baker (Dorchester), Charles Yancey (Dorchester) and Felix Arroyo (at large) in supporting a proposal by Councilor Mike Ross (Mission Hill) to block the Mission Hill move and the corresponding Fenway High School move into the Mission Hill building. Ross said that while the other moves, which will mean new seats for several high schools, a new bilingual high-school and a new elementary school, are great, he could not support the destruction of the Mission Hill K-8 community.
The other eight councilors, however, voted against his proposal, as Johnson and Groover looked on.
After Ross's proposal died, the council voted 12-1 - with Ross casting the lone "no" vote - to approve the BPS plan.