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Time for suburbanites to stop taking up valuable seats in Boston schools and jobs in BPD, BFD, councilors say

At-large Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George says she's had enough with suburban parents who try to sneak their kids into Boston public schools - and no longer just the exam schools, but even pre-school, inclusion and special-ed programs.

At-large Councilor Michael Flaherty, meanwhile, is venting similar ire against suburbanites - and even people from New Hampshire - who use "mattress addresses" to get on the civil-service lists for jobs as Boston police officers and firefighters.

The council agreed today with Essaibi-George's request for a hearing to figure out how BPS can do a better job at ferreting out interloping students taking away classroom space from Boston kids.

"Tthis is theft," she said. "This is a theft of services that happens districtwide, at the same time some of our families are on wait lists. "

Essaibi-George said suburbanites smart enough to realize the advantages of Boston schools are smart enough to figure out how to avoid easy detection. She said she doesn't get why BPS has only one full-time investigator assigned to looking for suburbanites when a neighboring city to Boston's north, which she didn't name, with a far smaller system, has 2 1/2 people assigned to the same task.

Separately, the council approved a request to ask the state legislature to let Boston extend the amount of Boston residency required to apply for a BPD or BFD position from one to three years.

Flaherty said too many people from "Duxbury, the Cape, Winchester or even New Hampshire" set up what he called "mattress addresses" in Boston strictly so they can take the civil-service test for those jobs, possibly unfairly pushing out lifelong Boston residents who might also be seeking the positions - residents, he added, who would be familiar with the streets and neighborhoods of Boston from day one.

"Let's give city kids an opportunity to get on these jobs," he said, adding the proposal would also make it easier for the city to hire more women and minority candidates.

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"residents, he added, who would be familiar with the streets and neighborhoods of Boston from day one."

So then give an exam to applicants, measuring their familiarity with Boston streets and neighborhoods. Don't assume skills based on an unrelated factor.

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It's not just skills, it's factors like trust, and sense of community.

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...it's also having City employees who are also City voters. Councilors like to be able to do nice things for police and fire, so police and fire will vote for them. Out-of-towners can't return the favor.

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Well, conversely City residents are generally taxpayers in the City. So Fire and Police that are City residents may consider the effect on the budget during contract negotiations. If they live out of town, they're not going to care about soaking the rich folks in the city.

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Do you trust someone because they're from Allston, and distrust someone from Brookline? Or do you trust people because they earn your trust?

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and they'll offer their opinions on how they dole out trust based on what subway line a person commutes home on.

orange line? ho ho, never. i only let my timmy ride on the green line.

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with the Beer Garden, Stats and the Lincoln.

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At-large Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George says she's had enough with suburban parents who try to sneak their kids into Boston public schools - and no longer just the exam schools, but even pre-school, inclusion and special-ed programs.

Is there actually evidence that this kind of thing occurs? I don't know either way, but it would surprise me very much if (for example) someone from Newton was trying to get their kid into BPS, because Newton's schools are just fine.

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And BLS is still better than Newton North. And there are ways to game the system that don't involve mail drops or whatever - a lot of people still have relatives who live in Boston who might be willing to host Johnny or Janey, at least during the school year.

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Each morning and afternoon, my commute from the South End to JP and back again has me cross paths with a great many school bus stops. I am always amazed at the idling cars at each one, often one or two, with students who hop out when the bus pulls up. I never understood it, but perhaps this is an indicator of parents driving their child into the city from someplace else?

I don't know the full bus history in Boston, I remember reading about it at the time, it was tense and horrible for kids, but as a non-parent, I never understood the fleet of school buses that deploy every morning in this city seemingly picking up just one or two students at a time.

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It's an indicator of the current standard of helicoptering. Parents drive their kids a few blocks to the bus stop and wait in the car instead of letting them walk all the way around the corner by themselves. Because fear? I don't know.

And the fleet is because if you have ten kids on a block they are bused to ten different schools.

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I appreciate the information. As I dont have kids, I didn't realize it was that complicated.

I grew up in an area that had your neighborhood elementary school (K-6), three junior highs (7-9) and two high schools (10-12). It was all based on geography where you went, you didn't have much choice in the matter unless your parents wanted you in one of the church run private schools. You had to live more than 1.3 miles from the school (seemed arbitrary even then) to take the bus. I lived 1.2 from the junior high, that was a long 3 years walking.

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Some bus routes only make a handful of stops, so kids can be coming from several blocks away. Parents may also need to go straight to work from the bus stop. I drive mine because it's not yet daylight when the bus comes, and it's a cold (or rainy/snowy), 15-minute walk in the dark.

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This is the Left's version of immigration hysteria. The Others, who we can't identify but we're pretty sure there's a lot of them Because Reasons, are coming to our city and taking our jobs seats. So, rather than try to fix the actual problems, let's scapegoat the interlopers and devote a bunch of resources to excluding them.

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Cute little fantasy there EG. But anyone who is familiar with the Boston Public Schools, parents, staff, neighbors, families and friends of parents, know this is going on . I haven't seen it quantified but it's definitely happening and needs to be addressed. As a homeowner and taxpayer in Boston, I want to pay for Boston students, not out of towners.

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As a parent of students in the exam schools I can say the kids know lots of kids coming from Quincy and Medford among other places. Hard to track? If these teenagers who are pretty oblivious know, it's probably not that hard to find out - they just tell look at the trains.

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Some of these kids have a parent living in the city, but that parent shares custody with a parent living outside the city. Where they happen to sleep most school nights is not necessarily an indication of their eligibility.

I knew a kid who spent half her time in Boston but continued to attend Medford High because her mother lived in Medford and her father in Dorchester. Her father juggled shifts so that she could be there after school/overnight some days because her ailing grandmother could not be alone.

Technically, she could have reversed that situation and still gone to one of the Boston high schools.

It isn't up to Boston to interfere with that sort of custody arrangement.

That's not to say that people don't use grandparents or business addresses to outright cheat the system - but that what the kids say may not be entirely reflective of eligibility.

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This comes up about once a year, but I have never heard any hard numbers on how much abuse there is (I'm sure there is some, but is it a meaningful amount?)

I know that the process of initially confirming residency is pretty stringent, so perhaps, if that IS working, it explains why we don't need an army of detectives to ferret out the cheaters. Maybe the system is working.

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Let's hire 2-3 more investigators at $100k+ each to combat a problem nobody seems to be able to quantify.

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Relatives need jobs

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Did they reference any report or point to the number of children that aren't Boston residents in public schools?

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I had a few friends at BLS who were from Somerville, Chelsea, and even Brookline. It happens. Also, our special needs program is actually really good compared to other places.

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the richest, most powerful country in the world and parents need to "game the system" to get their kids a decent educatoin and the services they need...

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Some programs and some schools attract students from outside Boston. It's an open secret. Also some Boston residents, for example several of my neighbors, live in Dorchester and their kids attend Quincy Public Schools. Again, no big secret. They don't try to hide it.

Wu's proposal to crack down makes sense to me.

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I also agree with Wu's proposal on electricity, mentioned in a different post

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Same thought here, is this an issue or just hearsay? Do they have a report to point towards?

This reeks of kicking welfare queen and drug users off welfare, which we know ended up being a more costly endeavor to the states that implemented those stupid laws in the first place.

I do know a lot of police (fire too?) move away from the city due to cost of living and compensation, but are there swaths of qualified candidates banging at the doors to get in? last I heard from LEO's not many people are trying to get on BPD because of the residency requirement, not in spite of it, and it's one of the easier police forces to get into for people starting out in the field.

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I can point to at least 3 families who send their out-of-town children to BPS schools (at least one student in each of the 3 exam schools). Each have grandparents who live in the North h End.

A simple way for School Investigators to get a list to pursue is to ride the Red Line up from Quincy each morning. Plenty of BPS school colors on that subway line- exam schools and others.

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to be better than their own town's high school - even in towns with good schools like Newton, Wayland, Lexington, etc. - and will do whatever it takes to get their children into BLS including renting an apartment in a Boston neighborhood when they don't actually live there. There are many advantages to having a child graduate from the exam schools or other Boston high schools including college scholarships. Now that a family is supposed to live in Boston by the time the child takes the ISEE in November of 6th grade, some families do what they can to get their child into a BPS school for 6th grade. Kindergarten in Boston is full day and free. Most towns don't offer full day kindergarten or free before and after school programs. Boston also has a great SPED program.

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It also starts sooner. If you can get a K0 or K1 slot.

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Parents live in Randolph, grandmother lives in Boston. Kid goes to charter school in Hyde Park after the parents sent in paperwork from grandmother's address.

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Yes, it happens. I already have another mom with a toddler plotting how to get her child into BPS K1, but has two properties in a northern suburb. It's like, great, why are you telling me? I own a single family in Boston and pay property taxes. If I have to move because I can't get a kindergarten slot, I have to pay the real estate agents to help sell my home. I take the risk because I grew up in Boston and want to raise my kids here.

I won't even go into the number of kids sneaking into BLS while I was there in high school. I was never invited to their homes until the day they graduated. These kids were from Quincy, Cambridge, and yes, NEWTON. And oh, believe me, her parents were savvy enough to figure out that BLS was better than Newton because their daughter ended up at Harvard. I even know of a kid whose parents lived in Maine, but he moved in with his aunt in Boston just to attend BLS. Well, at least, the aunt pays property taxes. I can't say so much about all these other families.

I love living in Boston and BLS did right by me. I've also honestly have been impressed with the local Boston elementary schools in my neighborhood. So, yeah, Councilor please crack down on these interlopers.

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I don't get it. Other than the exam schools, BL in particular, what advantage is there is sending one's child to a public school in Boston?

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We have more of it. Also, as mentioned above, SPED. And as the councilor mentioned, inclusion programs for kids with disabilities.

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There are definitely families who have special-needs kids that move to Boston specifically because they have all the services. What's the statistic? Something like 50% of BPS kids are special needs or ESL?

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I am working with a family that moved to Milton and hasn't been able to complete the paperwork to register her kids for school. They want a landlord living agreement which is fine but it also needs to be notarized. So those kids continue to go to school in Boston. I did contact an official, an they told me it was standard, everyone does it and they have to redo it when their kids graduate from elementary to middle to high school.

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Getting something notarized is really not that difficult. You may have to take an hour or two office work to facilitate it, but really?

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You can't get it notarized.

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I am sure it is easy if you own a car and live in a city, but it is less easy if you moved to a suburb with no car.

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Why aren't they Bostonians? If Boston hadn't annexed Brighton 200 years ago, Brighton wouldn't be Boston. They wouldn't be suburbanites if Boston annexed said suburbs.

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You do realize that Boston attempted to annex Brookline in 1873, and it was voted down by Brookline, thus ending Boston's attempts/abilities to annex. More recently, Mayor Flynn offered to annex Chelsea when it went bankrupt in 1991, and Chelsea went with going into receivership/taken over by the State instead. If towns want to use Boston's resources like public schools, then, by all means they can ask the city to annex them. Also - why aren't they Bostonians? Because they don't live inside the city limits of Boston. Pretty simple.

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West Roxbury (today's West Roxbury, JP and Roslindale) voted for annexation around the same time Brookline was saying no.

And then, in 1912, the town of Hyde Park voted to leave Norfolk County for the fairer pastures of Boston and Suffolk County.

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Meh - how else am I supposed to direct my superior Bostonian anger at Brookline ;) ?

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I know they don't live inside the city limits of Boston. They could do so without moving. Get the annexation going.

I hear a lot of talk about banning and exclusion, and not a lot of talk about welcoming and inclusion. Of course, all this patter distracts from the real question: What can we do, and what will we do, about the chasm which exists between the very best public school in Boston and the very worst one?

Two plus two is four, no matter how rich your family is, or what color you are. Why is that being disseminated less effectively by one teacher and school than by another?

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the solution was so simple and right in front of me. simply get my city annexed by another and my problem is solved!

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Unify the school district inside I-95 and a lot, lot of problems are solved. Of course, folks out in Newton and Winchester are mostly only progressives as long as it doesn't impact their ability to help get their kids a leg up over the less fortunate.

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Think how much busing we'd have then.

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They want to opt out of providing a share of low income housing? Fine, lets pool our resources. Same as homeless and mental health and drug addiction services.

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we'll call this new invention of yours a commonwealth

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Someone living in say Palmer is not likely directly tied into the economic engine that is Boston in the same way that people who live inside 128. Let's take Brookline - they get all the economic benefit of being directly next to the economic hub of Boston via multiple MBTA lines but don't share the economic costs of supporting a wide range of humans that come with living in a metro area. It's basically a giant gated community.

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The Mbta collects an assessment from Brookline. It is 5-6 million.

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That is a state funded thing. My point is that the good people of Brookline get all the benefits of living near a thriving economic center while dodging out on the less appealing parts of living in a metro area such as paying for services for the less fortunate. Look at how any attempt to build low income housing in Brookline is met.

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but you'll only create more private schools and get politicians elected that are going to lower tax contributions and the effect will be the same

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some people hadn't thrown tea in the harbor and signed a piece of paper few hundred years ago, you'd be singing God Save the Queen. What does that have to do with anything?

Why are people who live in Newton, Somerville, or Cambridge not Bostonians? They're not Bostonians because they don't pay taxes in Boston, aren't governed by Boston's laws, aren't protected by BPD, and do not live in Boston. They live in their own cities/towns with their own school systems, their own taxes, their own local governments, etc.

This is how cities work. And counties. And states. And countries.

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Now go read my revised "You're making my point" comment and opine on that.

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I really don't follow what point you're trying to make. If you want to take advantage of Boston's resources then just move here. It isn't like there's a citizenship test.

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!

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While we're at it, about that Metco thing....

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It's a voluntary program that suburban communities participate in so their lily-white student bodies can interact with the actual minority students their town zoning bylaws effectively keep out.

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It's one matter to openly sign up your child for a lottery to compete with all the other families in a program funded at the state level.

It's not even comparable to lying and cheating your way into the Boston school district (where funding issues are a constant battle) when you live somewhere else and don't pay a dime in city taxes. It's even more galling when you own a home in the suburbs but decide to steal a seat at BLS which is a ticket out of poverty for many children in the City.

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Amazing that the same crowd that cherishes sanctuary-city status for Boston wants to keep out kids from neighboring towns, whose parent's presumably are citizens, pay Massachusetts taxes and perhaps Boston meals taxes, parking fees etc.

When 29% of the students (FY 2016) can't speak English, perhaps we should be worried about hapless immigrants from foreign countries not local towns. Like others have said, with the exception of Boston Latin, why would anyone want to sneak into the disaster that is BPS anyway?

The end to Obama's "catch and release" of illegals today should free up plenty of space by September.

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Hapless immigrants? catch and release? What a bunch of racist garbage. Sad!

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[deleted comment in new spirit of not being mean in the comments]

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Did you find that statistic in a dark place?

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so now its not just the jerbs, its the clersse rerrms

i think the world would be better off without you tbh

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Only about 29% of people claiming to be retired police or police are actually police.

I pulled that out of my ass.

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It should only be opened up for positions that don't have anyone that fits the requirements to apply. People care about the city they live in.

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Nearly all city positions require residency. Until you've worked there for 10 years, then you are allowed to move out.

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not teachers.

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All those Legacy hires and or "political appointees?"

What about the Marty "guys" (the ones who show up to work during hiring freezes etc) who work for the City that live in Quincy/ Weymouth and the likes?
....You know all the AA guys and family members. Will they be shaken down as well?

Hiring quotas are a joke. Never met 1, with a toenails worth of skill. They are more then adept at playing the game though. Ahh yes.

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What about the Fire Fighters and Police Officers that were hired after they lied about their residency? This is fraud and now they hold public safety positions, positions of trust! If a person is willing to lie about their residency who is to say they would not lie on a police report, internal investigation or under oath!!!

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