Boston Public Schools’ enrollment drops for 8th consecutive year

Boston Schools Fund executive director Will Austin lamented, “We’ve essentially lost the equivalent of Framingham now [student enrollment] from our district.” The Boston Schools Fund distributes money to public, private, and charter schools in the city. This is not a criticism of BPS, but rather a result of the evolution of Boston over the past two decades. We need a school system that can change with the times.

The city and district are working to lower housing costs and give families the schools they want, Superintendent Mary Skipper said, with college and career programs, rigorous academics, beautiful facilities, and after-school activities. Skipper has stated that the district’s ultimate goal is to make “all families and students feel excited and confident” about enrolling in BPS and remaining in the area.

City and county officials, led by Mayor Michelle, plan to invest around $2 billion in new school buildings and invest in renovations under Wu’s Green New Deal initiative, which will include school mergers and closures, in order to improve school quality and anticipate changes in enrollment, which include not only fewer students overall but also an increase in English learners and pre-kindergarten students.

But for a long time, the city has relied on optimistic predictions that BPS would have more students than it actually did. The district, for instance, expected to have about 1,000 more students this fall than it actually did when it prepared its budget last year.

Last year, 96 of the district’s 120 schools were understaffed, causing the district to spend an additional $50 million on schools that would have lost funding due to their smaller populations, Austin said. He argued that although such funding had been required in recent years and was bolstered by pandemic relief, it was not sustainable in the long run.

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For example, Austin mentioned that $50 million could have been used to improve mental and/or basic literacy rates for all people. He said that either school closures or a shift in BPS’s funding structure are necessary.

According to Austin, the cost of that lack of occupancy will likely rise this year. Before starting the community conversation and making its facility plan, Austin suggested that the city get a better, more accurate long-term forecast of future BPS enrollment.

Over The Past Five Years, Enrollment In Boston’s Public Schools Has Decreased By 14 Percent

Enrollment in Boston Public Schools has decreased by 14% over the past five years, a trend that has been attributed by various sources to students dropping out, moving away from the area, or simply choosing not to attend.

With dropout rates ranging from 5.4% in 2018 to 2% in 2021, the most recent year for which the district and the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education had a statistic, the number has steadily decreased from 52,665 in 2018 to 46,169 this year.

Based on an independent report documenting student misconduct and staff failures to report it, the superintendent of the Boston Public Schools district has recommended the permanent closure of a school.

Until further notice, Mission Hill K-8 School in Jamaica Plain will be closed permanently at the end of the current school year, as recommended by Superintendent Brenda Cassellius to the Boston School Committee.

Mission Hill School In Boston Has Been Recommended For Closure By The City's Superintendent

The superintendent commissioned a report from the Boston law firm Hinckley Allen to investigate reports of widespread and systemic sexual and physical misconduct between students as early as 2014, and Cassellius’ recommendation follows the report’s conclusion.

The law firm’s report also confirms numerous systemic reporting failures by school employees and concludes that the serious incidents were not appropriately addressed by school personnel.

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The district’s primary duty is to protect the physical and mental health of its students. With the independent report’s confirmation of a pervasive pattern of abuse, the only remaining option is to shut down the school and help the students transfer to other schools in the district “Boston Public Schools issued a statement, which you can read here.

“The Superintendent obviously views this duty very seriously if they have taken this step. Currently, BPS is focusing on assisting each Mission Hill family in making a decision about their child’s future schooling.

When asked about school assignments for the 2022-23 school year, Boston Public Schools reported that 200 students currently enrolled at Mission Hill School would require new placements. To help each family make a seamless transition to their new school community for the upcoming school year, the district has established a transition team.

It has been reported by BPS that there will be about 400 kindergartens through eighth-grade openings at schools within a mile and a half of the Mission Hill School. The district claims that a large number of those available seats are located in schools that have received perfect scores on the School Quality Framework.

Final words

Parents and students started the new school day on Thursday adjusting to the idea that this could be their last year of formal education.

The district has promised an open enrollment period for families living in the Mission Hill neighbourhood who wish to relocate their children to another school. There will be several community meetings in the coming days where a transition team will explain the enrollment process in greater detail and assist families in finding the right school for their children.

According to Boston Public Schools, all employees who were involved in the Mission Hill cases detailed in the independent report have been terminated or placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of those investigations, which may include disciplinary action. Anyone else employed by Mission Hill who was not directly involved in those events will be helped to find work at another school in the district.

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  • Karan Sirari

    I am an author and a public speaker. I was born in India and have travelled to many different countries. I have a masters in public communication from California University and I love to write about famous peoples from different industries.

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