For Immediate Release
December 14, 2010
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Mayor Thomas M. Menino today in his annual speech to the Boston Chamber of Commerce discussed one topic: education. This represents the first time in over a decade that the mayor has used this speech to address a single issue. In 1996, he emphasized the importance of maintaining an appointed School Committee, and today, as the City again faces major decisions that will change the course of public education in Boston, Mayor Menino called on community and business leaders and government officials to embrace the challenging decisions ahead as an opportunity to create real and meaningful change.
“I believe the success of our public schools is directly connected to the success of our economy,” said Mayor Menino. “Boston Public Schools have a track record of constant improvement, but our progress will stall if we don’t take the right actions. Closing schools and making substantial changes to our school system will not be easy, but we must take these actions now to ensure that public education succeeds in all of our schools and for all of our children.”
The mayor’s speech highlighted what is working well in Boston Public Schools, including the City’s popular full day kindergarten for 4 year olds and schools where 4th and 8th graders are making improvements that exceed the national average, and identified four areas of change that should be addressed in the next teacher’s contract to advance the quality of education at all Boston Public Schools:
- Give principals and headmasters the flexibility to put the best teachers where they are needed most.
- Reward our best teachers for outstanding results in the classroom.
- Extend the school day.
- Reform the teacher evaluation system so it can be carried out efficiently with the focus on student achievement.
Boston Public Schools (BPS) will face a projected $63 million in cost increases next year due to fixed costs such as health care and compensation and a $31 million loss of stimulus funds. To reduce operational costs and improve the quality of academic programs, Superintendent Carol Johnson recently announced a new plan to close school buildings, reduced transportation spending, and redesigned program delivery. The plan targets the more than $300,000 per day spent on transportation, overwhelming building maintenance costs, and 5,600 empty seats that cost taxpayers over $20 million per year. The Boston School Committee will vote on the plan tomorrow night.
Mayor Menino also highlighted the city’s progress in creating jobs and development, citing nearly $1.5 billion worth of projects under construction, creating roughly 5 thousand jobs, and $4.8 billon of development in the pipeline. The developing the Innovation District on the South Boston waterfront is another area Mayor Menino highlighted, as the district continues to grow and attract top technology and innovative businesses.
“The diversity of our economy has helped to make our city second in the country for job growth, and that momentum continues to build,” said Mayor Menino. “We are recovering, we are moving forward, and we are poised for an even stronger 2011.”