A Green New Deal for Boston Public Schools
Every student in Boston deserves to learn in a space that is safe, healthy, energy-efficient, and inspiring. Yet many of our school buildings lack the basic infrastructure they need — bathrooms with doors that lock; sinks with running water; libraries or science labs — let alone the technology and resources for a world-class education. We need a large-scale shift in how we manage our Boston Public Schools facilities. To deliver on a quality guarantee, build healthy and nurturing physical environments, and align with our broader civic goals of equity, opportunity, and engagement we need a Green New Deal for BPS.
This isn’t just a plan to upgrade our school facilities. It’s a vision to leverage Boston residents’ creativity and passion to reimagine our schools as full-service community hubs that can adapt to meet the evolving needs of our students and our City. It’s a commitment to safeguarding the climate resilience of our school buildings, which make up more than half of City-owned building emissions. And it’s a pledge to listen to and rebuild trust with our communities—BPS students and families who have been calling for change for decades.
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Watch: A Green New Deal for BPS
How is this different from BUILDBPS?
We’ll dedicate committed leadership from both City Hall and BPS.
The safety, comfort, and quality of our school buildings is too important a priority to leave solely to a single City department. To elevate the wellbeing of children as a true community mission, we’ll need committed leadership at all levels of City government. While City departments oversee finance, project management, and master planning, BPS manages the day-to-day operations and maintenance of school facilities.
The Green New Deal (GND) for BPS is managed by a cross-departmental team led by Dion Irish, Chief of Operations for the City of Boston, and Indira Alvarez, Chief Operations Officer for Boston Public Schools. To execute on urgent school renovation and construction projects, Mayor Wu has proposed funding 25 new staff positions within the GND for BPS team in the FY23 budget — 10 within the City’s Operations Cabinet, and 15 within the BPS Facilities team, including project managers, environmental technicians, and a design and construction procurement manager.
Meet the Team
Chief of Operations
City of Boston
Chief Operations Officer
Boston Public Schools
Change the process
We’ll change the process of building schools to build trust through transparency, engagement, and urgency.
BPS facilities require significant investment, and for too long, the scale of the work that’s needed has made it difficult to plan and execute a comprehensive, district-wide approach. Decisions have been made haphazardly, and decades of deferred maintenance have left us with tough choices and pitted our school communities against one another. Right now, it’s not cost that’s preventing us from a school facilities overhaul — it’s knowing where to start.
We owe it to our students and community to be clear about how decisions will be made. The City of Boston and BPS are investing in key tools to change the process of building schools.
- BPS is publishing a Building Dashboard, a dataset built internally over the last year that integrates data from the SY22 Opportunity Index and information on each school building’s capital assets and environmental conditions. This dashboard is continually updated by the BPS Facilities team.
- As of April 2022, we are working with Bureau Veritas Technical Assessments to complete a Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA), a detailed analysis that produces a larger, in-depth dataset of building conditions and makes recommendations for repair, replacement, and renovation. The FCA will offer an independent, objective analysis of BPS facilities, offering more transparency for community members and informing future decisions around capital investment priorities. Once it’s complete, the FCA will be integrated into BPS’ Asset Essentials management system, which tracks all work orders and capital projects, to maintain real-time data on the state of our buildings.
- As of April 2022, we are working with DLR Group, Inc. to complete a School Design Study, a set of programming and design recommendations for PreK-6 and 7-12 schools to guide future renovations and construction, informed by authentic engagement with Boston community members over the next year. By offering educational and programmatic standards based on BPS values and vision—including our quality guarantee, our commitment to inclusion, and our dedication to an equitable, world-class, high-quality education — the Design Study will reduce the time and expenses required for future school construction and renovation projects, accelerating progress toward our district-wide facilities goals.
We’ll get started right away
While we continue to build our internal capacity and develop the tools to shape our future decision-making, we’re committing immediate funds in the FY23 capital budget to launch major capital projects that touch more than 20 school communities and continue district-wide initiatives to advance environmental justice and educational opportunity. The following projects were informed by the Building Dashboard and are designed to complement the district-wide grade reconfiguration to PreK-6 and 7-12 schools, enabling a quality guarantee for every student, in every neighborhood of Boston.
The projects listed below will move forward over the next year. We plan to add additional school construction and renovation projects to the City’s five-year Capital Plan every year, based on the ongoing work of the Facilities Condition Assessment and School Design Study.
BPS Green New Deal Map
We have a map of capital projects, districtwide initiatives, and past major capital projects from FY14-22.View the map
List of projects
We’ll commit to sustainable funding that meets the scale of the need.
The FY23-27 capital plan projects $605 million in City spending over the next five years—but over their entire life cycle, the projects represented in this Capital Plan are estimated to cost over $2 billion. Due to decades of deferred maintenance, we know that we’ll need to invest significant City resources in the coming years to transform all of our school buildings to meet our students’ needs.
By investing now in a Facilities Condition Assessment and a School Design Study, we’re laying the foundation for a community-driven master plan by FY25 with a clear timeline and a budget for upgrading schools across the entire district. While we don’t know the total cost now, we do know that we can’t solely rely on the Massachusetts School Building Authority for external grant funding. We’ll continue to add to the Capital Plan every year — investing new City funds to move projects from programming to design, and from design to construction — until all Boston Public Schools facilities are healthy, safe, energy-efficient, and inspiring.