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Long-Term Facilities Plan FAQ

Boston Public Schools’ Long-Term Facilities Plan Frequently Asked Questions

For questions about the Long-Term Facilities Plan, please view the FAQ below. For additional languages, please click the language button in the top right-hand corner next to the search bar.

Frequently Asked Questions


How and when will parents know if their child’s school is staying open, closing or merging? What is the process for community engagement? Will affected schools and communities have a chance to review proposals before the plan goes to the School Committee?

In the Long-Term Facilities Plan we outline an annual cycle for putting forth new proposals for consideration. School communities will be notified if their school will be closing or is being considered for a merger. There will be district- and city-wide communications and with individual school communities and a comprehensive transition process.


What are you doing to drive community engagement in this process and improve communication? 

We utilize a variety of engagement methods to ensure the public is informed and has the opportunity to participate and provide input throughout the process. Some engagement is occurring virtually to maximize participation, such as a survey and a webinar. In-person workshops will allow for dialogue in smaller settings. Engagement opportunities will be advertised through email, social media, and robocalls to the BPS community, and shared with community partners. All registration forms can be found on the Green New Deal for BPS website. We appreciate suggestions on additional ways to engage and keep families informed, and will continue to work on improving our communications efforts. 


Are the slides available for download from the engagement sessions?

Yes, slides are available at at under Latest Updates. Translated slides will be uploaded to the site as they are completed.


What accountability measures are in place to ensure that promises are kept and buildings are adequately maintained moving forward?

The Long-Term Facilities Plan is intended to serve as a framework for our commitment to this work. The annual and transparent process for putting forth new proposals will keep this critical work at the forefront. Given the decades of disrepair, ensuring that every BPS school building supports the High-Quality Student Experience (slide 10) will be a multiyear process. As we continue to make annual proposals, we will maintain buildings that our students are in currently. Our investment in resources and systems such as the Facilities Condition Assessment and a new work order system, Asset Essentials, allow us to have a clearer understanding of building needs and to prioritize and schedule repairs. 


What is the REPT and how is it used? How does the BPS Racial Equity Planning Tool (REPT) get used in this process? 

The BPS Racial Equity Planning Tool ensures equity is at the forefront of decisions. It lays out a clear six-step process to operationalize this commitment to ensure each decision we make is aimed at closing opportunity gaps and advancing racial equity. The BPS REPT tool will be utilized with every capital project to ensure that our process is equity-focused.


How does the Green New Deal for BPS take into consideration the geographical impacts of new facilities, particularly in historically underfunded areas of Boston?

Our goal is to ensure equitable access to school buildings that can support the BPS High-Quality Student Experience across our district. The BPS Racial Equity Planning Tool ensures equity is at the forefront of decisions. It lays out a clear six-step process to operationalize this commitment to ensure each decision we make is aimed at closing opportunity gaps and advancing racial equity. We have designed a tool called the decision-making rubric that utilizes a wide range of school and community data and allows us to test different investment scenarios and examine their impacts. Geographical impacts and historic investment are important considerations. 


How does the Hub Schools, a school building that serves as a community resource, fit into capital planning efforts?

The High-Quality Student Experience guiding our capital planning efforts is aligned with the concept of Hub Schools (where every student has access to an equitable and excellent well-rounded education and is prepared to thrive). Model Space Summaries, (the ideal set of standard physical spaces, based on size of enrollment, that buildings should provide to support the High-Quality Student Experience), outline physical spaces that support a holistic learning experience for students, one that welcomes community engagement and leverages community assets. Those spaces are also intended to serve as a resource for the community, helping to build stronger connections.

How are we addressing buildings that are currently in disrepair and what is the future plan for upkeep for all BPS school buildings?

Now that we have a completed Facilities Condition Assessment, the BPS Facilities team has clear data to create a phased infrastructure plan for assets to be repaired and replaced, contingent on funding. Given the decades of disrepair, this will be a multi year process. We also invested in a new work order system, Asset Essentials, which aids the Facilities department in ensuring our dashboard is up to date with the most recent repairs. The department also focuses on life and safety assets as a priority in all of our buildings.


Beyond improving HVAC systems, what are plans for air filtration in classrooms?

BPS partners with the Boston Public Facilities Department (PFD) to ensure all new builds have the highest form of HVAC and filtration systems.


Are there plans for existing schools to have air purification measures such as HEPA filters on HVAC systems or plug-in filters in classrooms?

The BPS Facilities team is currently assessing the feasibility of installing HVAC systems in spaces that do not currently have HVAC systems. They are partnering with PFD in this effort. This work is just starting and is in the design phase.


Where can I find the Facilities Condition Assessment dashboard, the district’s analysis of building conditions?

The Facilities Condition Assessment dashboard is available at this link.

What is the High-Quality Student Experience?

Through more than 20 listening sessions and over 9,000 survey responses in early 2023, we heard overwhelmingly from students, families, educators, and the wider community that every BPS student should have the opportunity to be fully engaged in a fulfilling education.  We used this feedback to create the four components of what we call the High-Quality Student Experience: 

  1. rigorous and culturally affirming learning experiences, 
  2. wellness and enrichment, 
  3. supportive network of caring adults, and 
  4. physical spaces that support learning


What is a Building Experience Score?

The Building Experience Scores indicate how well a building currently supports the BPS High-Quality Student Experience. The metrics that make up the Building Experience Score include data from school walkthroughs, site plans, and the Facilities Conditions Assessment


Is there a list of specific schools that already meet standards? 

The BPS Capital Planning Decision-Making Rubric offers a variety of data about our schools. You can explore what each school’s Building Experience Score is and see which schools have the potential to fit a model program.


Are there school libraries in these new schools? How about the merged schools?

The Model Space Summaries detail how libraries and other core spaces are included as a part of both preK-6 and 7-12 schools. You can see more detail about the model spaces in the Educational and Programming Standards (Ed Specs) at this link.


What features must be included in a new or renovated school building or are a higher priority than others?  

The model space summaries identify the ideal set of standard physical spaces, based on size of enrollment, that buildings should provide to support the High-Quality Student Experience. We are working toward ensuring that as many of our buildings as possible have the spaces identified in the model space summaries. You can see more detail about the model spaces in the Educational and Programming Standards (Ed Specs) at this link.

How are academics being considered in the Long-Term Facilities Plan and in the decision-making process?

Components of the High-Quality Student Experience include providing rigorous and culturally affirming learning experiences, along with wellness and enrichment opportunities.To strengthen academic opportunity and the student experience across BPS, we are working on improving the design of our facilities to ensure that they fully support this vision.


Do enrollment and capacity calculations account for specific classroom spaces and needs of students with disabilities and English language learner students? Do they account for future trends?

Inclusion classrooms have a ratio of students with IEPs and students without IEPs to ensure that all students are able to receive the services and support they need to be successful. Every year we provide student enrollment projections to schools to plan for future trends.


How do substantially separate classrooms fit into these plans?

The Model Space Summaries account for different types of classroom spaces that would allow us to meet the varying and sometimes unique needs of our students. Our goal is that our buildings fully support inclusive education across the district. You can see more detail about the model spaces in the Educational and Programming Standards (Ed Specs) at this link.


When planning for the highest-quality educational experience for all, there will still be a need for alternative educational options for some students — students with a wide variety of needs. Will alternative schools also benefit from high-quality facilities?

Yes. BPS maintains a need for high-quality alternative education seats and schools. Alternative schools are being considered for new space as part of this process.

For schools that are merging, how will you go about choosing the school leader?

You can find more information about the school leader selection outlined in the Superintendent’s Circular # HRS – HS04.


How will mergers affect teachers/staff? When one school has a program and the other does not, will it be supported in the new, merged school?

Mergers are intended to join school communities that have operated separately into one unified community that brings students, teachers, and staff together. We will work closely with families and staff to ensure that all elements of the transition are as seamless as possible. Among the advantages of joining schools through a merger is the opportunity to expand programming and access to resources and supports that may have existed in one school but not the other.


If a current school building does not fit a model space summary (model space), does that mean that the school will likely be closed?

Not necessarily, as not every school building should or will fit a Model Space Summary, but Model Space Summaries will serve as a guide for future new or renovated preK-6 or 7-12 schools.


What other schools will be closing, merging, or undergoing a renovation?

No decisions have been made about any schools aside from those that have been announced. Utilizing the tools developed in the Long-Term Facilities Plan and following the annual cycle outlined in the plan, we will identify potential new projects and put forth proposals each spring. 


How many major investments can we reasonably expect in the next 10 years? 

Major investments will depend on a number of factors, including project costs and funding availability. Our goal is to accelerate the pace of our projects, while balancing community impact.. We are fully committed to accelerating this work as much as possible and to pursuing MSBA and other funding opportunities. We are also confident in Mayor Wu’s and the City’s long-term commitment to supporting this work.


How are proposed BPS capital projects being funded?

There are multiple possible funding sources for BPS capital projects. Many of the current Green New Deal for BPS projects are being funded through an initial investment of more than $2 billion for planned improvements to school facilities by the City of Boston, with plans to increase that investment each year. We also annually submit Statements of Interest (SOIs) for consideration by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), which funds capital improvements to schools. In December 2023, BPS was invited into the MSBA’s Core Program Eligibility Period to build a new state-of-the-art elementary school at a site yet to be determined, that will serve the unified Shaw-Taylor community in south Dorchester/Mattapan. Some projects, such as the White Stadium renovation, will be funded through a combination of private and city funding sources.


What is the process for selecting project managers and agencies? 

All projects go through the required City of Boston’s procurement and contracting process.


Why are new proposals for mergers and closures being presented before completing new buildings?

Our goal is to ensure that all BPS students have access to school buildings that support the High-Quality Student Experience close to home. We also know that new buildings take several years to complete.  Since many of our buildings are underutilized or are too small to offer comprehensive programming, mergers and closures provide an opportunity to shift our physical footprint now. It also allows us to accelerate our capital planning efforts in a way that is sustainable and fiscally responsible.


What are the future plans for school buildings that are vacated?

Every school building that is vacated will be evaluated for potential use to meet a variety of community and/or educational needs. They may be used as swing space for schools that are going through a transition, for early learning space, or for another type of community need.


Can you say more about what swing space means? 

A swing space is an alternative location where a whole school or a grade level of students and staff can be temporarily housed while work on their school’s permanent location is underway. Any type of building project – mergers, on-site new builds, and renovations –  could require swing space, but it depends on the parameters of the project. 


How can I find out more about a specific school building project?

Information and updates about current projects are available on the Green New Deal for BPS website linked here


It is my understanding some schools will be moved from their original location. How will this impact transportation?

In any proposal to relocate a school, we will carefully consider many factors, including transportation. Our goal is for students to have access to the High-Quality Student Experience close to where they live for generations to come.


What is the expected duration for the entire process, and can you provide more insights into the long-term planning aspects? 

The timeline depends on the type of project. As part of the Long-Term Facilities Plan, we outlined an annual cycle for submitting project proposals for consideration every spring, with at least one full school year before the project is launched wherever possible. Families and staff will be notified as soon as a project is selected for consideration and scheduled to move forward.


What if people do not want to have their students switch schools due to closure of their current schools?

We understand how difficult and disruptive closures and mergers can be to students and families. These are decisions that we do not take lightly. Our goal is to ensure that every BPS student has access to a school building close to home that supports all aspects of the High-Quality Student Experience for generations to come. We will work with school communities on transition plans and provide support.

What is the formula to calculate capacity of a classroom or building?

Capacity analysis of a classroom or building provides a clear understanding of how many students a school building can support if each student is provided with sufficient net square feet, determined using industry and state standards. The methodology to calculate capacity is described in detail at this link and as an appendix to the Long-Term Facilities Plan. 


It appears the plan is to eliminate K-8 schools. Is that true?

No. Our focus is on fewer transitions for our students. The intention is for all of our schools to either be K-8 or K-6; 9-12 or 7-12. There will still be K-8 schools.


Will there still be 9-12 grade high schools?

Some 9-12 schools will remain the portfolio, but the vast majority of secondary schools will serve students in 7-12.


What are examples of the additional data BPS is examining to estimate enrollment?

Boston Public Schools has long partnered with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) Research Department to understand population changes in the City of Boston. BPDA is establishing a multi-department working group, which includes BPS, focused on long-term population projections. This will allow the Capital Planning team to consider both city-wide projections of the school-aged population, as well as neighborhood-specific development data, when considering and proposing projects.

Building & Architectural Standards: A comprehensive collection of school design principles. They include performance requirements for assemblies and systems, technical requirements for building materials, and criteria for selection of materials and equipment. Their primary purpose is to assist the City of Boston and BPS to achieve design consistency, equity, and quality across school buildings to serve the best interest of students, teachers, and communities. The goal of the Standards is to utilize the latest appropriate technology, products, and materials to provide safe, purposeful, and sustainable learning environments for BPS students.

Building Experience Score: The Building Experience Score assesses the current ability of the building and its physical spaces to support all different aspects that make up the BPS High-Quality Student Experience. It does not evaluate the school community or the quality of teaching and learning happening inside the building.

Continuum of Services: Ensuring that students with disabilities have the same options and access to programs and resources as other students, and the specialized delivery models to appropriately meet their individual needs in the least restrictive environment, as close to home as possible.

Decision-Making Rubric: The decision-making rubric is a tool that uses a variety of data to help guide decisions on where we invest our resources in school building facilities to have the greatest impact on our communities. The rubric allows us to engage community members in modeling the impacts of different investment scenarios. Using building assessment data, school and community demographic data, and neighborhood opportunity data, the rubric analyzes each school’s feasibility to fit a Model Space Summary designed to support the BPS High-Quality Student Experience. It specifically allows us to measure student population changes based on different investment strategies for student populations included in the BPS Opportunity and Achievement Gaps Policy (OAG), the CDC Social Vulnerability Index and in the Climate Ready Boston Social Vulnerability Index, disaggregated by race, ethnicity, language status, socio-economic status, disability, and neighborhood.

Educational Adequacy Quotient (EAQ): Educational Adequacy assessments are a tool to evaluate the current ability of buildings to deliver on the BPS High-Quality Student Experience. A school building’s Educational Adequacy Quotient (EAQ) is defined as its suitability to support the curriculum, teaching and learning activities, health and wellness, and other aspects of the High-Quality Student Experience. 

Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA): an objective, industry-standard analysis of the condition of BPS school buildings, conducted from Spring 2022 to Fall 2023. The assessment included gathering information on the condition of different building systems and the estimated remaining useful life for each piece of building infrastructure, assigning a Facilities Condition Score and a Modernization Score to each building. The FCA data will be used to help make decisions about infrastructure repairs, replacements, and renovations. 

Facilities Condition Score: How old or worn a building is based on system ages. The higher the score, the newer the conditions. The rubric assesses whether the building’s Facilities Condition Score is at least a 35 out of 100 in the Facilities Condition Assessment. This is one of four scores used to determine the overall Building Experience Score.

Furniture Catalog: A set of guidelines for BPS furniture. In order to meet the goal of greater access to educational inclusivity across the district and ensure a quality learning environment both facility-to-facility and classroom-to-classroom for current and future generations, furniture in the school buildings needs to cater to users’ roles, ages, physical sizes, physical abilities, and other needs. 

Green New Deal for BPS (GND for BPS): Launched by Mayor Wu in May 2022, the GND for BPS is a shared commitment to accelerating school facility investments so that every BPS student can learn in an environment that is safe, healthy, energy-efficient, and inspiring.

High-Quality Student Experience: The type of holistic learning experience that we want every BPS student to have as a member of the BPS community. Feedback gathered from various community engagement processes informed our collective definition of the BPS High-Quality Student Experience, and includes the following four core components: 

  • Rigorous and culturally affirming learning experiences
  • Wellness and enrichment
  • Supportive network of caring adults
  • Facilities

Learning Cohort: The Learning Cohort is a unique group of spaces that is home to a group of educators and students and offers different space types equipped with a variety of flexible furniture and equipment to support different learning activities. These spaces are the building blocks of the school facility. A Learning Cohort breaks down the scale of a full school and creates a cluster of classrooms to allow for high-quality learning opportunities and to build a sense of community for students and educators within the space.

Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA): The Massachusetts School Building Authority (“MSBA”) is a quasi-independent government authority created to reform the process of funding capital improvement projects. The MSBA strives to work with local communities to create affordable, sustainable, and energy efficient schools across Massachusetts. 

Model Space Summary: The ideal set of standard physical spaces, based on size of enrollment, that buildings should provide to support the High-Quality Student Experience. Model Space Summaries offer high-quality spaces for:

  • multiple grade level strands to support inclusive education;
  • designated spaces for art, science, Career and Technical Education, or other specialty classes;
  • more spaces for small-group instruction, resource, occupational therapy/physical therapy, and other pull-out services; and
  • spaces for community hub programming.

Multi-strand School: A school that can accommodate more than one classroom per grade level (i.e., a double-strand school is a school with 2 classrooms per grade level, etc.).

Neighborhood Opportunity: We used two data indices - the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Social Vulnerability Index and the Climate Ready Boston Social Vulnerability Index - to assess whether a BPS building/site is located within 200 ft of a census tract described as “highly vulnerable” or “very highly vulnerable.” Sites in these identified areas are considered to have high neighborhood opportunity - therefore investments in these buildings/sites have the potential to have a greater impact on their surrounding neighborhoods and communities as they have a higher concentration of community members who may be disproportionately underserved.

Swing Space: A temporary working or learning environment used while renovations are being carried out. A swing space can be in a different building or site.

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