Dorchester charter school proposes new building on Columbia Road

Prposed Columbia Road school

Architect's rendering (architects sure love their flocks of birds).

The Conservatory Lab Charter School has filed plans with the city to build a new $25-million school for its 275 students in grades 3 through 8 at Columbia Road and Quincy Street.

If approved, the school hopes to move the students out of leased space at 2120 Dorchester Ave., next to Carney Hospital, at the start of the 2019-20 school year, with construction to start this coming April. The school would tear down an existing waterproofing facility on the 1.27-acre site.

Over the past three years, the School has grown from a student body of 169, to 444 students in two locations in Dorchester – its Primary School at 131-133 Hancock Street which serves K1, K2, 1st and 2nd Grade students and its Elementary and Upper School at 2120 Dorchester Avenue which serves 3rd through 8th grade students.

Among the proposed school's features: An outdoor performance space:

As part of the overall site development, the Proposed Project will feature an outdoor performance courtyard designed to directly engage the full orchestra ensemble space just inside the building. The outdoor courtyard is setback behind the building as a buffer from the public right-of-way and is oriented South to receive ample natural light throughout the day. The courtyard is envisioned to be a pedestrian-friendly space, emphasized through the use of permeable hardscape materials, native landscape plantings, and site furnishings.

Conservatory Lab small-project review application (1.7M PDF).

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Comments

Architectural design with neighbors in mind?

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If this building is designed with neighbors in mind then this could add to the reputation of charter schools. The attitude of the BPL administration toward residential neighbors offers the wrong lesson to the children in schools of how to relate to neighbors. The maintenance folks in charge of
English High have as much respect for residential neighbors as Trump has for sports players who don't stand as obedient robots when the national anthem is sung.

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Voting is closed. 25

Both

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On the Call Street side of the building are large exhaust fans that create noise which is sometimes audible 2 blocks away. On the McBride Street side there are smaller fans. The large fans run from early morning to 8:00 PM and sometimes later. One evening the were running until midnight. In the past the maintenance department switched to the smaller fans on the McBride Street side. This year they refused to.

Edit: If anyone is interested. Where I failed to be clear is that my request is that the large fans stop running at 6:00 PM. For those folks who felt a need to be critical reading the lower paragraph about this not being an issue in 2008 offer some indication that there was not a noise issue at one time. I should have been more clear.

The fans are loud enough that they create a constant wall of noise. Some folks would call this white noise. But that is like calling a dead fish the scent of which a person got used to. It's still dead fish and still stinking up the area to everyone else.

The director of capital and facilities attempted to deflect from the real cause by claiming the noise is created by a electrical co-generator, a "necessary, but quite loud device actually helps BPS lower our energy cost to provide lighting, cooling and other electrical needs to such a large building as English. Unfortunately we aren't able to do without the co-generator nor lessen the noise it produces." In effect Mr. Jones implies that quality of life for residents is unimportant where money is concerned. Money trumps neighborhood quality of life.

In 2008 this was not an issue. Since then some change was made which for the past 5 or 6 years has resulted in gross amounts of noise.

This is a city and so there will of course be more noise than in the country. But that does not excuse nor exempt any individual or institution from striving to minimize noise.

While this is not as bad as an institution belching smoke poisoning the air we need to breath with particulates too small to notice with the eye or scent, they are toxic nevertheless. Same applies to noise. A constant stream of loud noise results in constant vibrations against the eardrums. The brain has to process the vibrations. Even if the conscious mind is able to "tune out" the vibrations the brain is still processing them. That means that focus, attention and energy is diverted from better tasks to shutting out of consciousness the ever present whooshing sound.

It's a given that mental health is enhanced by quiet environments and harmed by constant noise. Why a school system ignores basic rules of mental health is hard to comprehend.

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Question

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How long have you lived in JP?

Probably not long enough to remember JP High School.

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Question: What is the point of your question?

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You are correct that I have not lived in JP that long. I've lived in other urban neighborhoods of this and another city. My entire adult life has been in cities. It's reasonable to say I am an urban person.

None of that matters however in the context of the present. Whether the pollution is air pollution or noise pollution it is still pollution.

Everyone in this nation has a right to peace and quiet and peaceful enjoyment of their home. The immediate home is their house, condo or apartment. Their neighborhood is an extension of their home, albeit shared with their neighbors. That makes the neighborhood home for all residents. When an institution (or a neighbor in the instance of late loud parties) harms a neighborhood via practices that violate the peaceful enjoyment then a wrong is committed and needs to stop.

If the institution needs to use a system that creates the harm, if the institution can not cease in the use, in spite of causing harm, then at least the harm must be ameliorated. In this case ameliorating the harm can be done by using a lessor efficient but less costly (to the neighbors) backup system.

Or is quality of life just not important anymore? Trump communicates clearly that he believes that money trumps people. Is that to be expected from city institutions as well?

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The point is

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The school predates your arrival in the neighborhood.

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Thank You

This was going to be my response as well.

I wish that hill in the way of my view the ocean from my bedroom window would be taken care of by someone in order to enhance my life the way I see fit.

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I would agree with you if...

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...they were complaining about, say, school buses, or traffic, or sports teams. Obviously if you move next to a large public building, you need to accept that the building does stuff that's a part of the business they do. But they're absolutely legit in wanting to do something about the school using a loudass fan that other buildings seem to get by just fine without.

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This is the weird thing

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He (or she) is reasoned in their complaint, but calling EHS a bad neighbor because they run the HVAC blowers when they are open (as opposed to 24/7) seems like an unreasonable conclusion.

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Voting is closed. 39

Try reading carefully

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I never said anything about EHS running the fans during the day. I refer specifically to the evenings.

If you can't read carefully then perhaps refraining from criticizing is in order. There is value in reading carefully and responding carefully. There is negative value to criticizing on the basis of false information. That is what Trump does. Don't be like him.

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Voting is closed. 26

Let's go to the record

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You wrote-

On the Child Street side there are smaller fans. The large fans run from early morning to 8:00 PM and sometimes later.

I don't think reading is my problem. However, your approach is really bad. Sorry about calling you reasonable.

Also, about this Trump obsession, there is professional help available. Not everything is about Trump.

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Suggest professional help = subtle ad hominem fallacy

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Resorting to statements such as Trump obsession and implying a need for professional help is the ad hominem fallacy. It's a personal attack. Why do you need to resort to a personal attack?

But I forgive you for being unpleasant.

For the record I was not clear. I neglected to mention that my request to the BPS was that the building switch to using the smaller and quieter fans in the evening, specifically 6:00.

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Voting is closed. 21

The school is used until 8 PM

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Which I know as I at one point was going by the entrance to the school at about 8:10 on a regular basis.

Still, look at how many times you reference the current Commander in Chief, all to discuss your issue with one of the Boston Public Schools. I'm not the one who made those references, you did.

On a less snarky note, have you contacted your elected representatives? I will note that your State Rep lives a short walk from your house, and Matt O'Malley is a pretty open guy. There must be a neighborhood group to talk to, too. Much more effective than posting a comment on a story about a completely different school.

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School predates residence? Irrelevant

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By your reasoning any who is a descendant of Europeans own trillions of dollars to the Native Indian whose land was conquered and stolen.

I wonder how many nuisances were in any of the neighborhoods of Waquiot of John Costello. Did either of you apply your own reasoning to those situations?

The analogy concerning a hill and ocean view is an analogy. It does not relate to this issue.

The issue is noise pollution. If you are not willing to address the issue then try to restrain yourself. If you have nothing to contribute but just feel a need to knock someone down just so that you can say something, anything, then you are a pitiable person.

If either of you were to read carefully, instead of just adding a knee jerk and false criticism, you would notice that I mentioned that I have lived in the neighborhood since 2008. A careful reading would also reveal to you that the noise I refer to postdates my moving to JP. So by the reasoning of who was here first the noise came after. By the reasoning of the gentlemen who feel a need to criticize I have a right to expect that the noise cease.

What I always wonder though is why people defend noise pollution? Is it some expression of passive-aggression against strangers? It's just bizarre how many people actually like unnecessary noise. It's as though they are addicted.

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Voting is closed. 22

Lots of annoyances of Boston predate me

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I grew up on one side of Cummins Highway, which gets all of the fire engine traffic going to the north/west side of Roslindale. The sirens go all night. Guess where I live now? On the opposite of Cummins Highway, only now I can see the street from my house when the leaves are down. Also, at the midpoint between these 2 locations is a middle school, which somehow had rioting in the 70s and is now on the verge of state takeover, so there's that.

Oh, and there's a hill blocking my view of Boston.

The reality is that the high school opened in the late 70s and has been using forced air heating since then. As you write, the noise goes away usually by standard bedtime, so compared to the bellyaching of my aircraft hating neighbors (check out what I wrote about that) you are doing okay. The noise is ancillary to what the building does. You know, keeping the kids from freezing when they are trying to learn.

Also, the article was about a proposed new charter school building, not English High School. Congratulations making this about you.

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You have no dog in this argument.

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Yet you insist on expressing your opinion where it is not warranted. You do not live near English High. But I am making this about me.

It's also obvious that you do not know what you are talking about. Not much more need be said about talking out of ignorance.

Again I forgive you.

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FYI, They have been talking

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FYI, They have been talking to the neighborhood about location and design for a few months already.

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Good on them

Giving the gift of music to so many children.

Now when can we get a real math and science school like they have in New York?

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This is the type of Charter School that is just fine with me.

They offer something different - music and the arts. While some BPS schools do this not many do and so I welcome more schools that place a heavy emphasis on music and arts. Public or charter.

Those other charter schools that have suspension rates in the teens, basically zero ELL and SPED students, have long school days, and play the MCAS game - that's not innovation.

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It is innovation

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to the children who get to go to to school and focus on their learning, and not their neighbor's behavior problem, or crawling through the curriculum at a snail's pace because their 1 teacher is struggling to manage a class of 25 while managing 12 conflicting IEPs.

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Wrong, wrong, and wrong

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Charter schools don't get to weed out the "problem children" that somehow "prevent" your special little genetically special and perfect baby from learning at a special pace!

In fact, they are more likely to have under-trained teachers dealing with kids that they aren't qualified to deal with while struggling to present curriculum that they don't understand, for a wage they can't live on.

To take your elitist eugenic nonsense elsewhere, dotard.

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Charter schools don't get to

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Charter schools don't get to weed out the "problem children"

I agree OP is being an asshole, but please google suspension rates for Charters if you don't think they don't weed out their lower performers. In MA Charters don't get to cherry pick the kids they accept, sure.... but once the kids are admitted it's open season. That's why you get a 9th grade class of 200 and a graduating senior class of 67

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They also don't have to provide SPED

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Except for very basic accommodations that can be provided by the classroom teacher and an hour or two a week of therapies.

They don't have to provide classes with six students and three adults in them. If you come there with that stipulation in your IEP, they are legally allowed to tell you they don't have that program. They don't have to have teachers who are trained in working with kids who use a communication device, they don't have to take kids with disabilities who don't toilet independently or travel independently within the school building, and so on and so forth. So not only do they get to expel students who public schools are required to educate, but they also don't have to take most kids with disabilities in the first place.

And the previous comment about them providing an environment where no one is dealing with behavior problems or life problems is just gross. What that actually means is that it's a PUBLIC school that doesn't have to accept anyone they don't want. That's not right. I like the innovation at these schools, but why aren't they just part of the district and accepting of everyone?

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Yes they do

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Inclusion and sub-separate learns by environments must b made available per the IEPs of the affected students.

I've argued this like a billion times here, so let me just leave my usual qualifier, which is "if you know of and can document a case of a charter school doing any of the heinous and illegal things you're accusing them of, I'm as pissed off about it as you are, and will help you deliver the affidavit to the DOE myself so they get their charter revoked."

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Exclusion is not innovation

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Also? PUBLIC schools can't exclude kids - if they are, they are going to open themselves to lawsuits galore.

There is clearly a lot you need to learn about education - your characterization of a public school is way off to start with. Did you get home schooled or something? Sounds like you are drinking that kool-aid.

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And there you have a significant problem

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The many, by law, must abide by the needs of the few.

And this is why many parents choose alternatives to BPS.

But if you try to fix that, The same people that complain about charters will complain about the solution -which probably means grouping the kids at some level. But apparently that's not fair either, so we throw all the apples in the same barrel and we get what we have. The best students do fine in the exam achools. Those with special needs have enormous resources. But many kids in the middle that want something better are left with the choice of like it or lump it.

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Do tell us, Stevil

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How many kids you have in public schools and what your and their experience has been?

Funny how you propose "solutions" to problems that exist only in stereotype and hearsay.

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Hearsay?

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Tens of thousands of kids going to charters and parochials and privates and tens of thousands more moving out of the city to avoid putting their kids on BPS isn't exactly hearsay.

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Stop spreading misinformation!

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Look at the BPS and DESE data. The numbers of students in BPS have remained stable for the past 5 years. Enough with the misinformation and myths of people fleeing the city. It's not the 1970s/1980s anymore.

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Sadly you are misinformed about your misinformation

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According to the state profiles page BPS enrollment has dropped from ~55k to about ~53k, slightly more if you account for the fact that some of the "retention" is actually expansion of the Pre-K program (note - BPS numbers differ slightly from the state numbers because there is I believe one school that the city counts that is reported separately to the state). I know - I rely on misinformation and hearsay which is why I call BPS HQ when I uncover these discrepancies.

The fact remains - about 8000 Boston kids go to charters and thousands more to parochial and privates. Things have improved - but in large parts of downtown - the minute you have kids, you make for the burbs or look for alternatives. Others will stay only if they get into certain schools. And it's not all about the 2.5 dogs and white picket fence. Lots of my younger neighbors would love to stay in the city - with their kids - but they leave to avoid the lottery or the school their kids got into.

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$13000 per student just for

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$13000 per student just for the building seems like alot of money.
Figured the buildings good for 40 years.
Figured theres 46 students in/out each year.
There are 275/6 grades.

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Do some digging and ask some questions...

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I question the wisdom of allowing this charter school to build a facility. Where is the money coming from? Who benefits from these loans to build and how will the money be repaid? What happens if they can't or close down?

This school is ranked a Level 1 school by DESE, but a check of their report card shows their performance on state testing has declined for four years in a row. Students at this school score lower than children in Boston public Schools district in ELA, Math and Science.
http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/reportcard/SchoolReportCardOverview.aspx?li...

The Conservatory Charter School has 404 students and an out of school suspension rate of over 6%. These are K-8 students.
Their student population is comprised of only 5% English Language Learners compared to the district's 30%; and enrolled half as many children with disabilities as BPS.

In 2016, the principal of a school with 404 children and declining test scores, took home a salary of over $300,000. How is that even ethical? That's more than the Superintendent of the Boston public Schools (57,000 students). Heck, that's more than the Mayor of Boston makes!
http://truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/boston-charter-school-exec-pay...

As for neighbor input, a previous attempt to move the school to Roxbury did not go well for CLS and neighbors weren't happy.
http://m.baystatebanner.com/news/2016/jan/28/grievances-promises-aired-m...

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Conservatory lab charter public school

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The funding comes from all the fundraising they do so I'm sure you're not donating so much yo goddam business

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It is of interest...

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So, that's your only response to several substantiated concerns about this school performance/admin. Taxpayers have a right to know how many is spent because, as you point out, it is a "public school" that receives district money for students who attend.
As for how the money is raised or the school is funded, according to the tax info available, their foundation had assists valued at $4.5 million. A far cry from the $25 million needed to build the school.

https://www.citizenaudit.org/organization/043443578/CONSERVATORY%20LAB%2...

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And?

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I don't know anything about this school or its finances, but come on, even charter schools can take out loans for things - it's not like they have to pay $25 million all at once. You'll need to provide better data on why this new building is a bad idea.

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Questioning sustainability

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I wonder about the long term stability for a school with declining test scores in all areas. Is four years enough of a pattern that DESE should be concerned? What about the fact scores are below the BPS district's scores? If this continues and can't be righted, I would guess it could possibly be put on probation. This happened to another Boston charter and its doors were eventually closed causing families to scramble. I couple this concern with the question of whether investors will continue to invest if a school shows declining performance without change. Building a school with loans and investors as a single school district (which charters are) is always risky. I wonder about the financial judgement of a board that would pay their principal over $300,000.

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Adam, not to be a contrarian

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Adam, not to be a contrarian data-jerk, but a metric no commenter seems to have dialed into is per square foot construction cost for the use-type. $25M/43.5Ksf=$574 p/sf construction costs.

A very lazy google search suggests $211 p/sf was median in 2014 to build educational facilities. https://www.google.com/search?q=school+construction+cost+per+square+foot...

I work in this exact field, building very specialized educational facilities in Boston's most expensive neighborhood (which Adam can likely verify due to my IP address, and past posting-history). I generally estimate $250 p/sf in early budget projections; that number falls to an average of $200 p/sf as we work from schematic through DDs to CDs (construction documents).

Sure, I've built very specialized spaces that cost around $1,000 p/sf, but never an entire building that costs twice the median for its use type. Even if I ignore my lazy google results from 3 years ago, the per square foot cost of this raises my eyebrows.

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It's not just the building...

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There is no reason to have charter schools at all. If someone wants to run a school for profit they can call it a private school, charge tuition, and not charge the city a dime.

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????

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While there may be problems in orher parts of the country, can you please point to specific examples of people illicitly profiting from charter schools in Mass?

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Explain

How a public school in the city of Boston could present the Conservatory Lab's program.

Or explain how a private school in the city of Boston could present the Conservatory Lab's program to its target demographic.

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Just set it up that way, and it can happen

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The local districts need to be set up to have more in-district charters, and those need to be required to educate students with significant disabilities (BPS is able to serve almost every student in-district, including students who are nonverbal, nonambulatory, fully dependent for help with feeding and toileting, ventilator dependent, etc. -- it's a big, well-funded district). The innovation at these programs is great, but it's unjust to have them only available to students without significant special education needs and who have the residential and family stability to enroll in the lottery and still live at that address when their number comes up.

As an immediate way to make things somewhat more equal, the charters need to be required to specifically enroll kids who aren't going through their lottery processes -- kids who are in foster care, kids who are homeless, kids who show up mid-year, kids who aren't getting enrolled in school until DCF gets word they don't attend and helps the family register them mid-year. They need to take the same percentage of students in these demographics as BPS takes -- if a school has 1% of the seats in the city, they need 1% of the kids in foster care, 1% of the homeless kids, 1% of the slots that are left open for kids who show up in the city mid-year or are registered late. Same with special ed -- the schools all need to have a roughly equal percentage of kids with significant needs.

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Is equal better

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That's the question. I don't have an answer - but a few questions:

1) Is this in the best interest of the student or does it hurt the students but make things "fair". What's more important - what's best for the student or what's "fair"?

2) Is it efficient to have EVERY school set up to do all these things you talk about. It may not be fair - but see 1 above. And is it "fair" to take resources from the "average" kids to pay extra for kids who have special needs.

These are complex societal questions that seem to be at least somewhat mutually exclusive. My opinion is you do the best you can in aggregate with the resources available. That may mean that special needs kids don't get everything they need if it means that providing it net/net diminishes the educational experience of the other students.

(real world example - student had a physical limitation with a life expectancy of about 8. It cost $100k to provide the legally required education to that student. Parents sued and won to get these services for their child. However, that meant that over the course of the student's 2-3 years of public education, budgets for several other special needs students with a normal life expectancy had to be cut - is that a rational solution? I would think not)

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Just stop

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Do you realize what you sound like trying to question federal law to provide a free and appropriate public education to all, regardless of disability? It was settled over 40 years ago. And as for your commentary about "is fair equal?" Separate but equal case of Plessy vs. Ferguson in 1896 was overruled by the Supreme Court in 1954 in Brown vs. Board of Education. Thank God for the Brown case because at the time people that separate but equal was fair. And it wasn't anymore fair for students of color from Monson, VA, than it is today for students with disabilities who are not offered the same educational opportunities.

I genuinely think you don't know how insensitive and out of touch your argument of placing a monetary value on students based on what you perceive as worthwhile or not sounds. Children who are severely blind without cognitive disabilities, in the general education classroom and require a paraprofessional, hours of specialized instruction from a teacher of the visually impaired, and costly Braille equipment to access the curriculum and learn specialized skills related to blindness. It can cost $80,000 a year. But these are college bound kids who will hold jobs instead of collecting SSI. Are they less worthy than sighted kids who don't require specialized instruction? No. As for those with severe disabilities, could you look into the eyes of a parent and tell them there is not enough value in spending money to teach their child how to toilet, communicate with an augmentative communication device? The days of institutionalizing children who are severely handicapped, sending them to special schools or hiding them in the back room are long gone. Thank goodness.
In Boston there are specific programs for some severe disabilities, but other students like those with a sensory loss are most often integrated in the general education classroom. The issue with charters is that many of them have skirted the law, claiming they didn't have the resources. People talk about what charters have to teach public schools, but in terms of special education, homeless students and ELLs, the charters could learn from the public schools. There are enough charters now that they should be figuring out how to recruit, service and retain these students as well as pool sped resources. They received a million dollar grant to do just that.

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That's all fine

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You'll note I asked a question, i didn't make a statement.

Let's agree on the free part.

So what you are saying is that if we spend $100k on a kid with disabilities, it's therefore appropriate to spend $100k less on all the other kids. We live in the real world and beyond certain very tight margins, municipal budgets are zero sum games.

So which is appropriate? 100% on the kids who will grow to adulthood and live as adults in the real world or 100% on the kid (s) with special needs who may never be able to live independently or at all? "Both" is not a realistic answer. It's a moral dilemma for sure. You (and the law) say that the "average" kids get less to fund appropriately for special needs kids.

I don't need or want a lecture, but happy to hear your solution to the problem. If your answer is spend more on education across the board, where does that money come from because it's not there now?

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Leveling the playing field

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Yes, it is more obvious and often more costly to do so for those with disabilities, but most people agree it is only fair to level the playing field whether it is textbooks in Braille and or a wheelchair and aide for a child who has muscular dystrophy. Technically your argument could extend to not making schools or public transportation wheelchair accessible because it addresses the needs of the few. But, again, federal law determined this and it resulted in ADA legislation. I'd encourage you to read about the discrimination against those with disabilities and speak with people who are disabled and in schools and the work force to understand their stories. Sincerely, I know an tween who is blind, reads braille, and fully included in the general education classroom who could articulate to you the need for specialized instruction and equity. She's had to become her own advocate to counter arguments of whether she is of value to justify the services. (She's also bilingual, and a sought after partner for group work because she is one of the smartest and hard working kids.)

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And I don't disagree

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All good.

However, there are instances where the law may overreach (the example I gave above as an extreme, but real life decision that had to be made).

In the end we can have fair, equal or most efficient for learning - all three of which may be mutually exclusive - fair is subjective, equal is likely stiflingly inefficient (again per the example I gave) and efficient is very likely none of the above. And unfortunately it means we have to make value choices every day about getting the most for our educational dollar.

Allocating dollars most efficiently doesn't mean academically disenfranchising people with disabilities - if the next Stevie/Stephanie Wonder comes out of this school that's money VERY well spent - even if his/her special education needs cost more than the average kid. But it doesn't mean shortchanging the rest of the kids. It all needs to be balanced to get the most out of the limited education dollars we have.

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Really?

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"if the next Stevie/Stephanie Wonder comes out of this school that's money VERY well spent - even if his/her special education needs cost more than the average kid. "
I really want to have an intelligent exchange with you, but your comment is so condescending and offensive. What stereotyping world do you live in to think that all blind people aspire to be musicians and THAT is a sign of success. Do you think they have extra powerful hearing, too? There are many people with disabilities who far are more successful, and intelligent than you or I. Maybe one day you'll have a colleague or boss with a disability and expand your world view. It's not about taking away $ from "typical" kids, it's about allocating enough $ to provide the federally required free and appropriate education. And if you think the kids with disabilities are stealing $ from the kids without disabilities, you really need some help.

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Get real

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The initial topic is about a school with a music curriculum. I'd expect people with musical talent to.attend.

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You would be wrong

This is a school that starts in Kindergarten, and it was founded on the principle that all people have musical talent if you start young enough.

It's not a school just for kids whose parents already think they have special musical talent, and who have the means to seek more traditional venues for musical development. It's a school for average kids, regardless of the resources of their parents - they are selected by lottery, not by audition - which is dedicated to the idea that every one of them can become a musician, and to the idea that learning music early brings with it a greater ability and disposition to learn academic subjects.

There's a direct line from the founder of El Sistema, José Antonio Abreu to the Sistema Fellows educated at NEC to the Conservatory Lab.

Here's another link, to an article by one of the founders of the school, Larry Scripp, explaining just what the school was founded to do, and some of the early conclusions that were reached.

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First of all, what kind of

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First of all, what kind of person would assign a child's worth by what they can potentially do as an adult!? Really?? If every school was equipped to handle every student this wouldn't be an issue. If the neighborhood schools have a few kids who require more supports and were equipped to properly educate them the costs would balance themselves out. As it stands, not every school/classroom is eqipped to handle every child. Public charter schools charging more per student take away more from the typical child's education than a few classroom supports for their dissabled neighbor ever would. Why not invest in dual certification of all teachers who have good student/parent reviews? Could allow for more bps families input, and fewer, but better equipped teachers in each classroom. Also maybe a public bidding process on school supplies, equipment, and building services could help bring unnecessary overhead costs and give more money back to the good teachers who regularly pay out of pocket to make sure their students are taken care of, yet, can not afford to eat and live near work, pay is very low, especially for newer teachers when compared to the rediculous in district housing costs.

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Can I come live in your world

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Where there's limitless money so we can spend hundreds of thousands on kids that have an 18 month life expectancy with no tradeoffs for the kids that will grow to adulthood?

Do the unicorns in your world sneeze rainbows?

Do you realize that there is an army of people working for the city making these decisions every day already?

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Is this a for-profit school?

I thought for-profit charter schools were not allowed in Massachusetts. Isn't this school associated with New England Conservatory, from which it got its name? I've seen their students perform at the Hatch Shell with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra.

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No, there is no affiliation.

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No, there is no affiliation. I am a neighbor and a parent there. The school is pretty amazing even if you don't consider the demographic they serve. They perform with several local groups and at many sites throughout the city, year round.

From my view, the neighborhood wants the school, many are excited about it. Chapman waterproofing is an old industrial relic. Behind it is a playground that has homeless and drug activity because it goes unused and hidden from sight. The programming that they will present at The Strand, down the street, will help maintain The Strand and the businesses, particularly restaurants, as families can enjoy the area after concerts.

The school is truly innovative using expeditionary learning and El Sistema, neither of which would be possible in BPS. This is one of the good charters, let's not demonize it because there are others that aren't serving their students and families.

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Thanks for adding your voice

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Thanks for adding your voice and insight! I'm so tired of the blanket opposition of all charters!!

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Almost correct

There is no official institutional affiliation at this point, but one would not exist without the other.

The Conservatory Lab Charter School was founded by professors from the New England Conservatory. Its inaugural directors were graduates of NEC's first class of Sistema Fellows. Conservatory Lab Charter continues to employ graduate students and alumni from NEC in various capacities, and the two institutions continue to collaborate in performance and pedagogy.

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Only one of the Resident

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Only one of the Resident Artists comes from NEC, you maybe thinking back to almost 20 years ago when the school was founded. Conservatorylab.org has a host of current and accurate information.

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Why the denial?

It's true I'm a little out of touch. I still thought the Conservatory Lab was in Brighton, where it hasn't been for a whole year now. And it is true that the resident artists today come from a variety of conservatories and music schools. NEC is represented, as are Berklee, Boston Conservatory, and Longy.

What I don't get is why you are so determined to deny the particular connection of the Conservatory Lab to NEC. The place was entirely a project of NEC faculty. It has El Sistema because NEC had El Sistema. Today, the Conservatory Lab is a success. Good on the NEC profs who founded it, and good on the rest of the Conservatory Lab folks who came from elsewhere and are making it a continued success. In 2017, the Conservatory Lab still has a partnership with NEC, and several board members in common. Are you denying the connection through some kind of anxiety of influence? Was there a behind-the-scenes fight of some sort?

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MA law requires charters to be non-profit

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MA charter schools must be organized as non-profit. Source: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXII/Chapter71/Sect...

However, there are ways to make money from a non-profit. You could pay artificially high salaries or contract out lucrative work to an entity you control, etc. These are all concerns, although I believe it's generally acknowledged that the authorities in charge of overseeing and renewing the MA charters do a pretty good job on this front.

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Charter financing often comes

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Charter financing often comes from multiple public sources, one being New Market Tax Credits. These are your tax dollars at work. They were historically used by community development orgs to build new affordable housing The Charter Management Organizations behind every school are for profit while the school itself is non profit. You'd better believe the CMO's are raking in the dough and they wind up owning the building. NMTC were used by mystic valley charter to build gym and pool. they now charge Malden public schools rent for the public school girls swim team to use the pool. All using your tax dollars.

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$300,000

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Isn't take home. You're misleading by not comparing total compensation, and disregarding the fact BPS hands out pensions.

Just saying.

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Not misleading...

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There is no justification for a principal to be taking home $300,000 a year. Ever. Charters lsay they spend money more efficiently. That's not efficient. And, yes, I think it is problematic to see an administrator make this kind of money, while the teachers in her school make an average of $55,000 and will not receive pensions- they are not part of MTRS or City of Boston.
Read a little about Diana Lam's history as a leader- she has a history of making hundreds of thousands of dollars and a history of problems and buyouts/resignations from districts- NYC, San Antonio.
http://www.lowellsun.com/news/ci_30018016/interim-lowell-charter-school-...
Also, your comment could be seen as misleading- BPS doesn't hand out pensions. Teachers are not allowed by law to contribute to social security. They are civil servants who make contributions to the pension system and earn it at retirement.

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I just want to make sure

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You understand the difference between total compensation and "take home" pay is, right?

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Of course ... this is just wrong

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It wouldn't be a debate about charter schools in Massachusetts without completely incorrect information about the charter school system being thrown around.

MA charter school teachers DO participate in MTRS. Source: http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/employers/training-and-reference/mtrs-membershi...

There are plenty of arguments for and against the MA charter system that are, you know, actually true. Please stick to them.

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Wait

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Are you questioning the comprehension skills of someone who wants to make all of Boston's schoolchildren go to BPS schools.

Not to slight the BPS overall, but yeah, there are those things like taxes that certainly make a difference between compensation and take home pay.

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Scores over the past couple

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Scores over the past couple of years are hard to compare b/c the state switched to PARCC then MCAS 2.0. I taught at another charter school for the first two years of PARCC and the scores in my school went down (and in my classroom they went down quite a bit) between year 1 and year 2 of the test. Did I become a terrible teacher between those two years - nope!

Also - as a former charter AND public school teacher, something to keep in mind is whether district schools over classify kids with disabilities because more funding comes there way if they do. My classroom (at a charter) had 3/21 kids on IEPs, but I know that at least 4 other students would've been on IEPs if they were in public school (which would've made my classroom 33% SPED)l. Mine was an inclusive classroom and all four of the kids who weren't on IEPs still got additional support services to help them be successful.

Food for thought. People have it out for charters like nobody's business....as a future BPS parent, I'm still pro-charter.

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Talk to their board

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The principal doesn't set their own salary, the board does. Obviously they think he or she is doing a pretty good job, whstever those metrics are.

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General observation

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The commentary on this thread is of very high quality and mostly polite.

Good model for the future.

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Two thoughts:

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Two thoughts:

Would it be so bad to have actual windows to see out of?

Must it drive out an existing business, existing blue-collar jobs? We went through this when the Midtown2024 folks wanted to eliminate Widett Circle. A city can't have a residential/consumer/whitecollar economy and remain healthy.

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Chapman Waterproofing was

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Chapman Waterproofing was leaving with or without the school, the property has been on the market for a while. Like so many family businesses, they get to a point where it makes sense for them to retire and cash out. The location is not in an industrial district. It is surrounded mainly by retail and residential property, industrial development certainly has it's place, but this isn't it.

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Thank you for the information

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Thank you for the information about Chapman.

Yes, the proposed site has residential behind it and across Columbia, and retail & residential across Quincy (and the Health Center next door).
It is also at the intersection of a couple of blocks of Quincy and Columbia that have (mixed in with the residential, retail, etc...) - a foodservice company, a warehouse, an auto service place, the School Department kitchen, an auto body shop, a prosthetics company, a major contractor, and a small lumberyard.
So - industry is all around it.

Oh, and cattycornered from the proposed site - there's a vacant school! Years ago, they closed the Early Learning Center that shared the one-story building with the Schools Kitchen, and moved the polling place up the road. They could easily have made a deal to build up and over, leaving the Kitchen in place.

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Location