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BPS had millions of reasons to move something into the old Hyde Park High School

36 million, to be exact. Seems the city won a large grant from the state to renovate the school - scheduled to be paid out through 2019 - and the state doesn't like having its money wasted for repairs to buildings that get shut down. Take a look at this letter from the Massachusetts School Building Authority to Boston School Superintendent Carol Johnson back in June, which mentions several schools, but singles out the building last known as the Hyde Park Education Complex:

In 1999, the City received approval for a grant for a renovation project at Hyde Park School. To date, the MSBA has paid $23,383,012 to the City for the Hyde Park High School and there is a total of $12,664,978 remaining in grant payments which the MSBA is scheduled to pay in annual installments through fiscal year 2019. Due to the closure of this facility, however, the MSBA may consider putting a hold on the remaining payments for this project and recouping a portion of funds that have already been paid to the City for this project, pending the City's future plans for the facility.

The next month, BPS decided the answer to complaints by Boston Latin Academy students and parents about inadequate room there was to move that school to Hyde Park. Then, after parents and students complained even louder about that, BPS came up with a plan to New Mission High School and Boston Community Leadership Academy into the closed building.

The letter was obtained and posted (along with Johnson's answer and other documents) by Save Mission Hill School, which is fighting BPS plans to move the K-8 school to the closed Agassiz School in Jamaica Plain, for which BPS now says it has enough money to fix longstanding air-quality issues despite having long put off repairs when Agassiz parents kept complaining about them.

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Comments

When your costs are going up 4% and your revenues go up 3% you don't have much choice and even that increase in revenues assumes development returns to the mid 2000's pace. Here are some things we will see more of:

1) Development projects will get steamrolled through - anything that will get revenue. If it's institutional expansion, that will go through the front door with pilot money going out the back.
2) Public claims of support for public schools while really hoping all the kids transfer to charters. The city gets about $20k per student from the state for every such transfer PLUS with the charters actively trying to increase the number of SPED and ESL students they serve there is an additional permanent operating savings by BPS - they can push off the cost on non-union schools and use the savings to meet collective bargaining agreements (which may allow them to run longer school days and compete with the charters - but I'm not holding my breath - apparently the BTU wants 3% increases on wages plus full retention of health and retirement/pension bennies and that's just to maintain the status quo - they want even more for the longer school days).
3) Steady closing of schools and deals like this that are financially driven - not academically driven - will depend on the speed of shift to charters - but I think estimates are about 5000 students will transfer in the next few years - that's roughly $100 million for the city and a closing of 10% of the schools.
4) Requests for more city revenue - wouldn't surprise me to see a city income tax move or another increase in the sales tax in the near future once we run through this.

The fun has just begun.

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