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FY20 Public Education

The City of Boston is investing in its students as the key to lifting up future generations of Bostonians.

Between the Boston Public Schools (BPS), charter schools, and the City's investment in Universal Pre-Kindergarten, public education makes up forty percent of the City’s FY20 budget. $1.177 billion will support the 55,000 students at (BPS) and $215 million will support 11,382 Boston students in charter schools.

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1 City Hall Square
Room 813
Boston, MA 02201-2037

Education Budget

Mayor Walsh’s investment in public education is a cornerstone of the FY20 budget. The City's education budget will increase by $96 million from FY19 to FY20, including Boston's charter assessment, the Boston Public Schools budget, and a $15 million investment in universal pre-kindergarten.

This spring, the Boston City Council adopted a $1.177 billion budget for BPS. The BPS budget is a $51 million increase from FY19 to FY20, and the largest BPS budget in history. The FY20 budget also funds a nurse in every school, along with additional mental health professionals.

Boston has increased its annual spending on education by $361 million since Mayor Walsh took office. Over that time, per-student spending has increased over 25% and the number of educators has increased by 398.

Education Budget by Fiscal Year

Direct school expenses make up 65% of the BPS budget.

Investing directly into schools

The budget includes new school-based investments to address opportunity gaps. These include:

  • $375,000 to strengthen science instruction.
  • $364,000 to host the entrance exam for the district exam schools in students' home schools.
  • $440,000 for leadership development and technical supports for low-performing schools.
  • $910,000 to expand vocational programming.

In FY20, BPS is allocating $2 million in additional soft landings for schools with declining enrollment. BPS is also providing $750,000 in supports for schools that need the most support. These schools will receive professional development and coaching to help them improve instruction and support students.

For the second year, BPS will use the Opportunity Index to allocate funds for high needs students. The Opportunity Index is an innovative tool that predicts student need using data about the factors outside of school that affect a student's ability to learn. BPS will direct $2.5 million in additional funds for high-need students through the Opportunity Index.

Direct School Expenses

Direct school expenses make up 65% of the BPS budget.

Strengthening High School Pathways

BPS Graduation Rate

This is the four-year cohort graduation rate.

BPS is investing $350,000 in programs that support high school students, especially students who are not on track to graduate high school on time. BPS will use these funds to expand Naviance to more high schools. Naviance is a technology-based system that provides interactive college- and career-readiness assessment tools. BPS will also use this investment to develop an early warning indicator system to identify students who are off-track to graduate. $500,000 of the new $2.5 million in FY20 Opportunity Index funding will support intervention for high school students that the early warning system identifies.

The City is also investing $500,000 to provide free MBTA passes to all students in grades 7-12. Students will receive a pass whether they attend a public, charter, private, or parochial school. This investment will greatly expand access to transportation resources for Boston students, allowing them to explore the city and the many opportunities it provides.

Investing in Universal Pre-Kindergarten

In FY20, Mayor Walsh is investing $15 million in the first-of-its-kind Quality Pre-K Trust Fund to close the gap in quality pre-kindergarten seats in Boston. The fund will be used to create a citywide mixed-delivery system, with seats in Boston Public Schools and community-based organizations. When Mayor Walsh took office in FY14, there was a 1,500 gap in quality pre-K seats for four year olds, but this figure has been cut in half to 750. The Quality Pre-K fund will close the rest of the gap by adding an additional 750 seats over the next five years.

This $15 million investment is in addition to BPS investments in pre-K. The FY20 BPS budget allocates $31.8 million for quality pre-K, including $3.8M to replace the expiring Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG). The PEG replacement funds maintain access to quality seats in CBOs for 250 four-year-olds.

BPS early education programs have been recognized as among the most effective in the nation at closing achievement gaps. They are content-rich in science, literacy, arts and math. Data shows that BPS pre-k students outperform their peers in third and fifth grade MCAS, both in ELA and in Math. BPS will continue to strengthen and expand early education for Boston children.

Pre-K Seats by Year

The amount of pre-k seats continues to rise. FY20 and FY21 seats are projections.