Angry elementary-school parents to descend on School Committee meeting en masse

The School Committee meets Wednesday (6 p.m. at the Bolling Building in Dudley Square). Parents upset about new elementary-school starting times as early as 7:15 a.m. are planning a large display of displeasure.

The parents say the changes - spit out overnight last week by computers at MIT - are simply too extreme for little kids, and their parents.

Organizers of the nascent anti-early-starting-time protest have already collected more than 5,300 signatures on an online petition and are planning to stand outside supermarkets to collect signatures on paper.

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High School times are horrible also

By on

Not sure how anyone thinks that letting high school kids out of school at 330-4pm is good either. They have a ton of homework, after school programs and sports, and 330pm is way too late. I have asked my kids and all of their friends and NONE of them want to go in later in the morning. They are up between 6am and 630am, and were perfectly fine with getting to school between 730-750am. It seems as if they asked people that only really cared about sleeping in, rather than waking up like you have to in the real world.

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Yeah

I see the research but at the end of the day, a K-5 kid needs a shorter day more than a teenager. As the busing issue hasn't magically been fixed, we need to account for the fact that most kids get on a bus 30-60 minutes prior to school so you're asking kids (and parents) to get up at 6am or earlier which is too damn early.

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Sorry but 6am is not that

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Sorry but 6am is not that early to wake up. And the high school start time was pushed back. So you are still getting unsupervised time, now the kids parents might not even see if they leave on time in the morning. This did not add any more time to a high school day, just made it extra long in terms of waiting for it to begin and what time these kids will get home at night if they have after school things to do. And let me not even start on how it stinks for a kid that might have a job afterschool that they are somewhat dependent on for money in their pocket.

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Yes?

Reread my comment and you'll see that I think the elementary school kids should be prioritized. So if high school kids have to get up early, fine with me if the 7 year old doesn't have to get up at 5:45am to sit on a bus.

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330 or 4 reduces unsupervised

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330 or 4 reduces unsupervised time in the evening, great for everyone in society, and is a consequence of pushing back start times as the vast majority would benefit from due to increased sleep etc (see studies). If sports are impacted? Too bad.

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"Great for everyone in

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"Great for everyone in society?" What about the kids who are "supervised" because they have after school jobs but now can't get to their job on time? Or the kids who are doing the supervising because they have to pick up and watch their younger siblings? Doesn't sound great to them.

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Pushing back start times in

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Pushing back start times in order to increase academic results at a cost of after school jobs is not really a top concern of mine.

On point 2, ideally they are all getting out around the same time. We should not be setting school hours such that we can rely on Boston teens as caretakers.

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How does that reduce

By on

How does that reduce unsupervised time? The teenagers will be better supervised when they get out later, what about all of the young children who will be dismissed before 2 pm?

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How does teens getting out at

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How does teens getting out at 4 when a huge segment of the working population leaves work at 4 or 5 reduce unsupervised time?

No idea. /s

Ideally young kids should be getting out around the same time (aside from those half day ones of course). People tend to worry alot more about ensuring the young uns have proper after school supervision, but it is the teens that cause the most societal ills.

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Teens that may have after

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Teens that may have after school jobs, social/study programs, sports will now get home even later, start homework later... what a win. I’m not sure that reducing unsupervised time of teens is really a goal for city parent. It is not a goal of any parents of teens in BPS that I know.

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It IS a win!

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Because that is what THEIR BODIES ARE TELLING THEM IS WHAT THEY SHOULD BE DOING.

They finish later and go to work and do homework and FALL ASLEEP right away. Instead of going to bed earlier and fighting awake earlier.

READ THE DAMN STUDIES ALREADY.

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You can chill with the CAPS.

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You can chill with the CAPS. We won’t know if kids will actually sleep any longer or improve academically until this takes effect. If I was still in HS; this would probably prompt me to stay up later, but I’ve always fought sleep even when my body told me to go to sleep. Do you happen to have a link to the actual study? I have been unable to find online.

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Seriously....

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The study/ data from MIT related to Boston. Not looking for a general late start time search, but thanks for all of your efforts.

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Boston?

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Boston students are biologically different?

I know y'all want to pretend that ...

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What are you talking about?!?

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Who is ya’ll?
I’d like to read the study conducted by MIT that is going to have an impact on BPS students. You do realize more went into this study than the circadian rhythm/sleep patterns of teenagers? There were surveys conducted and algorithms used. I’d like to read more about that info. Any idiot can google studies re:late school start times. I’m specifically taking about the MIT study done for Boston. I’m more interested in the data that led to the change in start times of the younger students.

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Disgusting

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I'm glad that me leaving school and going to my job at Roche Brothers is causing the good citizens of Boston "societal ills." People wonder where the Boston rascism is and here it is in full force: after school, the BPS high school attending kids such as myself, who are primarily minorities, need "supervision" and this school proposal is great because it reduces our "unsupervised time." Would one of the above commenters like to cite occasions on which their lives have been negatively impacted by BPS high school students between 1:40 and 4? CRICKETS CHIRP. We are members of this community too. I am far from the only kid who reads UHUB, I know this for a fact. Talking about us in this tone is the definition of disrespect.

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Are teens a race? Teens

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Are teens a race? Teens getting into trouble is a universal truth across all races last I checked...

Increased parental supervision is a very secondary benefit to the reality that late starts help the students themselves. I suggest you read the studies.

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Read his comment, please

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Most teens in Boston are not white.

Teens also need unsupervised time so that they can grow up someday. No magical fairy flies in and grows them up magically.

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Most teens in MA, are however

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Most teens in MA, are however white, and I would support this action across the board.

Pointing out that unsupervised teens are a societal ill is not racist.

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Societal Ill?

Really?

It would seem to me that the Extreme Nanny State that would have them in diapers is the societal ill.

Particularly when so many Nanny Ninnies then turn around and whine whine WHINE about how "kids aren't blah can't do blah today blah blah can't seem to grow up blah avocado toast blah blah pampered blah" .

Cause and effect, maybe?

But, hey, I've just raised two young men, one of which is about to graduate college early without debt and both of whom are very responsible and independent, so don't mind me.

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I thought you were a

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I thought you were a pathologist of some sort? Anecdotes are not data. Data was conveniently provided below.

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They should teach research skills in the BPS

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Here is a report, albeit dated, on the issue of teens and out-of-school time in the afternoon. In the intro it notes

High-quality out-of-school time programming for teens is critical not only to the social and academic development of our young people—who today must meet higher academic standards than ever before—but also to the safety of our entire community. One of the more stunning statistics included here is that juvenile crime in Boston increases markedly when children are not in school, even peaking immediately after the school day ends. Our young people simply must have better alternatives for their free time.

The statistic noted was cited later-

Research tells us that while the vast majority of teens choose to engage in productive activities during out-of-school hours, immediately after school, juvenile crime—including young victims and perpetrators—peaks markedly. In Boston, from October of 2002 to October of 2003, 60.9 percent of youth violent crimes occurred from 2-10 p.m., with a 36.7 percent increase from 1-2 p.m., just as students are leaving school.

I feel for ya, kid, going from school to work at the end of the school day, but according to this, not all of your cohort is doing the right thing when the final bell sounds, so you might want to tamper the racism talk.

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So if some kids are acting up

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So if some kids are acting up at 2:00pm, what is to stop them from acting up at 330pm? So we should cater to the needs of the worst kids and the ones that just can't drag themselves out of bed at 6 or 630am? The same teens that are getting screwed by this, are the ones that the BPS should be catering to, not vice versa. Why are they listening to, and changing things, for the kids that act stupidly in the afternoon and cant wake up early in the morning?

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If you bothered to read the report noted

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You would know that your question was the overarching issue, not when high school kids should start school. Their idea is that by and large the high school kids of Boston are good, decent kids, but like any impressionable kids could possibly be lead astray during the time between when they leave school and when their parents get home from work (simplified as the 2 to 6 time) if that time is filled with nothing other than the influences of less than reputable people. The Boston Foundation (authors of the report at the urging of Mayor Menino (it is an old report, as noted before)) set out to establish programs to enrich the youth of the city and to keep them from falling by the wayside.

Again, I feel for the student commenter, since he is doing everything right, and hopefully will succeed because of it. The reality is that the time between when kids get out of high school until when they meet up with their parents is a big opportunity for bad things to happen. I would posit that this is the case in towns like Marshfield and Lynnfield as much as it is in Boston, but the stakes in Boston are a bit higher. Moving the end of school to 3:30 thus takes 1.5 hours of temptation away.

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Couple of issues going on here

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First of all, Studies Have Shown syndrome. Look at the science from The Studies! Lookit Lookit! Concrete evidence that teenagers need to be allowed to sleep in, not be responsible for going to bed early and getting up early. See the Studies? Take that Ben Franklin! Early to bed early to rise my a$$! In your face! Oh by the way, did I mention there are Studies? That Have Shown?

And secondly, let's not forget how the actual workplace has evolved. The phrase

rather than waking up like you have to in the real world.

applies less and less these days. Workplaces are allowing flexible hours and telecommuting, which allows people to keep New High School Sleeping Schedules well into their adulthood. So in a way, Boston is actually cutting edge in that regard. Preparing children for the 'real world' of the future.

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No thanks; Not a fan

By on

of all-inclusive vacations, or oligarchic big brother tech companies.

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lol when I was in high school

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lol when I was in high school (not in massachusetts) we went from 7:30 - 3:30, every day. and didn't have as many breaks as the calendar up here has - "February vacation" mystified me when I moved. and it's not like I'm ancient, either, so it's a more regional difference than anything else.... but I just don't understand how short the school days / weeks here are.

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Lock 'em up!

By on

Yes, there is merit to the fact that teenagers in general need more sleep than younger children.
That said, ONLY IN BOSTON would it happen that school start times are upended because of the city's inability to provide efficient and timely bus transportation to its students.
So while I'm sure the folks working on this at MIT are incredibly smart, they should spend more time away from the ivory tower before submitting the solution.
I can imagine the anger of parents who are trying to balance work/family/leisure and the city tosses them a 2 hour change to the school schedule. The School Committee should be ashamed.

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Saving Money?

I have heard that one reason for time changes is so that the school district can save money on busing costs. I also heard that they are only saving 3 million dollars. Is this true? If so, that's pathetic. 3 million is not worth the effect this will have on children.

I'd be happy if the city spent an extra 15 million so that more students can start at 8:00 or 8:30. And don't forget that the city pays for charter school students to be bused all over the city. The charter schools write their own rules, have their own start times, and the city has virtually no say in when they start or finish.

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Only in America

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Can you give a kid an education worth $350k for free and the recipients bitch about having to get up a little earlier.

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A high school diploma is

By on

A high school diploma is worth a hell of alot more than $350k, worth is up to the student, that so many squander such a great opportunity is a pretty large blight on society. .

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A high school diploma is

By on

A high school diploma is worth a hell of alot more than $350k, worth is up to the student, that so many squander such a great opportunity is a pretty large blight on society. .

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A high school diploma is

By on

A high school diploma is worth a hell of alot more than $350k, worth is up to the student, that so many squander such a great opportunity is a pretty large blight on society. .

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Oh dear.

By on

Oh dear.

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Got it

although it kind of feels like you were trying to say you think a high school diploma is worth $105000?

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Woosh.

By on

Woosh.

I am feeling a bit slow today :)

Too much Trillium.

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Only in America

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Will stingy haters demand that everything be monetized and whine about educations scores in terms of their taxes.

Just move to the South already and ENJOY THE CHEAP EDUCATION!

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Boston spends 20k a year per

By on

Boston spends 20k a year per pupil and has inferior results to surrounding areas.

Taxpayers have every right to call into question how dollars are spent, IMO delaying school start (even if it costs more) is well worth it. Better spending the dollars here than on school sports etc.

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Boston spends 20k a year per

By on

Boston spends 20k a year per pupil and has inferior results to surrounding areas.

Taxpayers have every right to call into question how dollars are spent, IMO delaying school start (even if it costs more) is well worth it. Better spending the dollars here than on school sports etc.

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Actually a lot more than that

By on

When you add in everything the city spends on schools it's closer to $28k (pensions, retirement benefits, capital expenses, grants, imputed rent on school buildings and more are all under separate budgets (or in no budget when it comes to imputed rent) and add about 50% to the "cost per pupil".

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You gotta dig

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The number quoted publicly are usually just operating expenses (about $1.1 billion) divided by number of kids - about 56.5k (BPS quotes a slightly higher number than what they report to the state - using that number - apparently they include a few thousand kids that are in other types of schools - might be an adult ed program - not sure - but BPS usually puts out a number to the state of about 53k kids). That's where you get the number slightly shy of $20k.

But:

External funds budget - about $125 million
Capital expenses - varies - about $75 million per year (plus accruing interest of maybe $15 million or so?)
Teacher pensions - hasn't been in the budget docs for almost a decade - but tens of millions annually - maybe up to $100 million now - estimated at double staff pensions
Staff pensions - probably about $50 million estimated at 30% of city pension costs
Retiree benefits - health, dental, life insurance - ??? - need to talk to the CFO - easily tens of millions
Imputed rent - 125 schools times $50 million per school times say 6% gross rent = hundreds of millions

Easily another $500 million in expenses that aren't included in the "published" numbers.

$1.6 billion divided by 56,500 students - conservatively is about $28k per student

They'll never publish that - people would have a fit if they knew the actual cost of "underfunded" BPS.

(you do actually have to deduct about $20 million for transport expenses of non-BPS students in this - but across a number measured in the billions - it doesn't really register - mea culpa).

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Jesus.

By on

Jesus.

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Sorry

By on

he's not allowed in public schools.

:-)

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Smoke, mirrors, and lies

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Employees paid into those pensions and retirees paid for those benefits.

That's only a start.

Have you perfected the whole pants on fire thing? Great alternative energy source for when you go Galt.

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Who owns the liability and the assets

By on

If all the teachers walk in front of a bus, who gets the money.

If they all live to 150, who pays?

If there's a shortfall, who makes up the difference.

Sorry dude, it's an expense. And it's accounted for as such, even if the teachers do it outside the operating account.

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Imputed rent

So the fact that BPS has (per your figures) $6.2B in schools most of which were built and paid for decades ago is a negative in your worldview? That's just oblivious, Paul Ryan level stupidity about the nature of a public good.

Gosh, the interstate highway system cost a lot to build in the 1950s, why isn't that covered by our modern tolls?

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Like it or not

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There is a hidden cost to owning vs renting. There is an opportunity cost to owning. You want to quantify it otherwise, be my guest. But it is not zero. Far from it.

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Not zero is not $6B

Ok, seeing as you're more or less a nihilist about this - pick one.

Is it better for BPS to own $6b worth of schools (again, your numbers) which are largely paid for by long ago bond issuances, etc... or to pay every year to some real estate group at market rates (which are very high in Boston, did you know?) ? The opportunity cost of having already spent money decades ago on land and buildings is already money gone before we were born so it's a ridiculous point vs. an analysis of whether you or I should own or rent our homes.

If it's better to rent, state your case. I often agree with your assessments of the BPS budget but you've lost me on this one.

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Getting away from the point

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The reason for this analysis is to.detemine the true cost of BPS.

There is a not insignificant cost to owning all of these buildings. Maintenace and capital costs are accounted for in other budgets.

However, in theory if you sold the buildings and rented them instead, what would be the cost of the rent, net of those other expenses ( and you had the cash in your pocket from selling those schhols). Very complicated, but it costs about$100.million or more to build a school. That's $4 million in interest plus say. $1 million in depreciation. Any way you slice it, the opportunity cost to.owning these buildings is $1-2 million.a year per building or $125 million to $250 million. It's not a cash expense, but a real cost of operating the system.

If you have a different way of analyzing it, I'm perfectly willing.to.listen, but owning all these buildings is not remotely close to zero even after netting maintenance.

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You're disappointing me

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Mainly because you are usually good with the city budget stuff.

You know very well that the BPS has a capital budget, and regular maintenance is a part of the BPS budget. Why are you throwing smoke out there when there is no fire?

Look, I bought a car in 2009. Bought it. Took out a loan that was paid back in 4 years. After 48 months, I stopped paying the financial institution who wrote the loan. I did not lease the car. If the car company offered perpetual leases on cars, I'd still be paying them, no? But now I'm in the clear except for maintenance costs. Similar thing with my house. Someday the mortgage will be paid off, and when that is done I will no longer have any costs related to ownership other than maintenance costs (for example, replacing the hot water heater or repainting periodically.) The capital budget covers those costs, and you factored in that $75 million in your sketching out of what the per pupil costs are. Beyond that, you are making up numbers.

And you're better than that.

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Why?

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1) I fully acknowledge that maintenance and capital are accounted for in my second paragraph.

2) Over and above that there is a cost of ownership. Again - my point is to calculate the true cost of BPS to the city (for example - if the system disappeared tomorrow and all the assets were sold off what would be the savings, or another way of looking at it - what if we had to outsource the whole system at cost - what would the city pay for an equal level of services, resources, use of equivalent assets etc.)

3) the key is - what is that cost of building ownership - it's not just the cost of maintenance because you have 125 assets each worth tens of millions of dollars depending on size, location etc. There is an enormous opportunity cost of having these assets tied up in real estate. That cost is the imputed rent. Using your example of your home - you have an asset worth say $500k. You spend say 1-2% a year to maintain that asset (like BPS) - sometimes expenses like painting and sometimes capital costs like a new roof or windows. That's just a cost of ownership. HOWEVER, you have $500k tied up in real estate that could be generating a greater return invested elsewhere (that may or may not be equal to an amount to rent an equivalent space - that's not relevant for this argument). That is your imputed rent for your ownership. We can argue forever about how much that is and whether or not appreciation/depreciation and maintenance should be netted- but it's a significant positive number when you have billions tied up in real estate that could otherwise be invested more productively.

Not an easy concept as it's completely intangible, but you can't argue having a balance sheet with billions tied up in assets that aren't generating cash is "free". At best I put that at about $1 million per school - perhaps as much as $2 million. The cost of holding these assets in real estate instead of investable cash (or perhaps themselves generating rent) probably costs the city $100-$200 million. It may be necessary and there may not be an alternative - but it's real - if intangible.

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Oh yeah?

By on

people would have a fit if they knew the actual cost of "underfunded" BPS

Well Phhbbt to that. I have it on good authority that public schools are FREE. Why, I just read it a few posts above yours.

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Dropping my 5 year old off with Marty for a few.,,,

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And..... I'm guessing you don't have any kids? It's not about the money. It's about the well being of the child AND the people raising them!

Bad enough kids can't go to schools in their OWN neighborhoods but now some of them have to be at a bus stop at 5:30am to trek across the city! Some of these kids are 4, 5 years old! Then this impacts their after school care and costs because they are getting out earlier. So some kids are out of a parents care for 12 hours!

I have a 5 year old. His start time now is 8:30 and is going to be changed to 7:15am. All these "research" and "studies" did not take into consideration "real life scenarios" how it would effect the working family/single parent households. Maybe if Marty takes my son next year for a few weeks with this new time change and see the havoc it is going to cause, he would have thought twice.

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I do not know why people who

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I do not know why people who have a choice to move out of Boston when they have kids dont.

I grew up in Boston, lived there for my whole life, moved a bit further south now that kids are on the horizon. Not to mention housing costs, traffic, quality of living.

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move a bit further south

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See what happens when you don't spend shit on education.

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Boston spends nearly double

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Boston spends nearly double what my new community does. Yet my new community has much better educational results.

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Don't know what planet you are on

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Look at the MBTA schedules and tell me how the hell you get to work on time with an 8:30 start.

I'd have loved to have had a 7:15 start when mine were young - god knows they were up and running around at 5:30 anyway.

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Don’t Mean to Follow a Rabbit Hole Charter Debate But

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Given that the purpose of charters was to see how a different approach/emphasis than the city currently brings to the table might affect student outcomes, parent involvement, etc for some subset of students I’d think it’d be essential that they have some flexibility, if they’re going to exist at all. Different work schedules (and sleep needs) might be a reason some parents and kids need more flexibility from the city not less, right?

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ummm

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Starting at 8 is preferable.

Go shove your wallet in your pants.

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Charter school kids ARE

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Charter school kids ARE Boston kids - people always talk about them as if they're some mysterious 'other'. Also - most charter schools have extended day - making start and end times more difficult to manage. I can see wanting to vent frustration - but aiming it at charter schools isn't appropriate..

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Ridiculous

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Please acknowledge that Most of those signatures are people outside of Boston, who mean well trying to support but have no idea what is going on. As far as Boston residents- my twelve year old and her friends all signed it after it was making the rounds at her school. Im guessing the majority of those signatures are children.

This is a relatively small group of very vocal unhappy parents. No one has ever said no to the parents at the Lyndon before. I wish people would pay attention to the other 50,000 students' whose parents are pleased!

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Unfair

Lots of people who live outside of Boston send their kids to our schools so why can't they sign? After all, if you are coming to the city from Chelsea or Quincy, you might have to get up even earlier to get to the schools than kids who live in the city.

Allegedly.

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Huh?

Expain?

Lots of people who live outside of Boston send their kids to our schools
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Bussing

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It is worth pointing out that Charter schools and Catholic schools get to set their schedules first and BPS has to work around their schedules plus pay for busing Charter, Catholic and BPS kids. Many of the BPS schools now have extended day as well. Some schools that are scheduled 9:30-4:10 are now moving 7:15-1:55. Its one thing for a parent to drop their kids of at 7:00 am for school but leaving work at 1:30 to pick up at 2:00 is not going to happen. Even with a letter from to my employer as offered on the BPS website:

"BPS is happy to provide parents, guardians, and students with letters to employers notifying them of a school scheduling change and explaining why this may necessitate a change of working hours. For this, please email [email protected]."

So parents will end up paying a lot more for after-school care and kids could potentially be at school for 11 hours.

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Many (nearly all) charters

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Many (nearly all) charters are extended day. The one I worked at had kids from 7:15-4 - that leaves very little wiggle room when it comes to adjusting start/end times.

I don’t see how this particular issue can be resolved without returning to neighborhood schools...

My vote isn’t for that - but it’s also ridiculous that some kids ride the bus for 1-2 hours to get to a school that is likely within 4 miles of their house...

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Starts at the top

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The apparent lack of considering human reaction may have very little to do with MIT and a lot to do with the “They’ll learn to live with it” attitude of the folks they work for.

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Here's an idea

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Let's vote the current school committee out. Oh wait a minute.....

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One option

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Go back to neighborhood schools. The knee jerk reaction to that idea is no because some schools are better than others and it's not fair. But busing was started in the 70's and things have changed so much since then. With computers/SIS, and standardized testing and curriculum, schools'/students' progress can now be easily tracked. It's not like in the 70's when everything was done on paper and no one knew what was happening day to day with regards to grades and progress. With neighborhood schools, if a majority of students in a school are not performing well, that school would better be able to adjust its hours in order to allow for more time for instruction in order to bring its students up to speed. This would allow schools to start later and/or end later if that's what's best for the students. I'd love to see schools be able to dismiss at the regular time those students who do well and keep later those students who are struggling later so they can receive extra, more personalized, instruction. But that would only work if schools didn't have to rely on buses. When schools have to work around bus schedules, it's not possible to adjust hours as needed.

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At this point, wouldn't matter, in terms of buses

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BPS would still have buses going all over the place and would still have to deal with all sorts of start/end times because it's required to provide transportation for charter schools, which are required to accept students from across the city.

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Many moons ago

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Heard a BPS official say that you could save maybe half the busing budget if you went back to community schools - maybe less. As you note - charters, parochial schools, young children, special ed, exam schools and more would still require transportation services.

At the end of the day we might not have to raise the school budget for one year - that's about what you'd save from eliminating busing. We are talking $30-$50 million - but people need to keep in mind that's still only about 1%-1.5% of the total budget.

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Agree with neighborhood schools

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I whole hardheartedly agree with going back to neighborhood schools. It makes sense to invest in your own community, would save on busing costs (with the exception of the charter schools), and pollution (noise and environmental!) if children could walk to their school, and I am willing to bet it would help curb gang violence, since people would be spending time with their neighbors. It would help with after school care as neighbors could help one another with the younger children who can't be home alone and everyone would be on a reasonable sleep schedule as they wouldn't be trekking all over the city! It would take an investment in time from the adults, but there is no reason this city, the biggest city in all of New England, shouldn't have a public school system that works. The city isn't doing much to entice people to stay. It's either pay for ~5 hours of after school care (for those who have two working parents) or pay for private school. Is the real reason we "can't" go back to neighborhood schools because it would be a "PR nightmare"?

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Voting is closed. 9