“Boston Cannot Shortchange Its Future” - BEJA Statement Ahead of Monday’s City Council Budget Meeting
Since January, Boston has seen a historic movement emerge in the fight for education justice and the schools our communities deserve. In a season of activism, thousands of students, parents and teachers have petitioned, testified, walked-in and out of their schools and into City Hall to send a clear message- fully fund our schools!
Collectively, we are demanding that the City Council vote down the proposed budget and tell Mayor Marty Walsh to ensure there are not cutbacks in school programs by adding $26 million to the budget for that purpose.
On June 13th, Mayor Walsh announced he would add an additional $4.7 million dollars to the BPS budget. While additional revenue is welcomed, we are disappointed in the Mayor and Superintendent's choices for allocation. Despite pleas from students and parents, the new allocation of funds does not adequately address the deep cuts in this budget- among them in Special Education student weights and Early Education Centers (EECs).
It is disappointing that only $215,000 of $4.7 million (less than 5%) of new funds are going to address budget cuts at the school level. While families may appreciate the Superintendent's new initiatives, progress in BPS cannot be at the expense of programs that families value and of our most vulnerable students. Classes serving Autistic students will be larger. Libraries in some high schools will be empty. And despite a small bump in funds, surround care programs in nationally recognized EECs will still not have the resources to support our youngest students. This budget does not reflect what families, students and teachers have demanded for months from our elected leaders.
We ask our City Councilors to be bold, and once again vote down a budget that is not adequate and supportive of student success. In a time of unprecedented wealth and growth, Boston cannot shortchange its future.