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Council Opposes Move of O'Bryant School

On December 5, 2023, the Committee on Education held a hearing regarding Docket #1367, A hearing to discuss the viability, transparency and community engagement process regarding the plan to move the John D. O'Bryant School of Math and Science from Roxbury to West Roxbury, in which the council heard overwhelming opposition for this plan.

Mayor Michelle Wu and Superintendent Mary Skipper announced a proposal to move the John D. O' Bryant School of Math and Science from Roxbury to the West Roxbury Educational Complex in West Roxbury on June 6, 2023.

The O 'Bryant is the most diverse of Boston's three exam schools, with about two-thirds of its students identifying as either Black or Latinx. The diversity of Roxbury offers students and their families culturally responsive support, resources and services, such as after school programs and the wealth of community partnerships ranging from the surrounding colleges and universities to the hospitals and technology facilities who provide internships, dual enrollment courses and jobs for students.

Long and short term impact on student success and outcomes require thorough examination and analysis. Further, the assumptions behind a proposed move have not been clearly stated nor documented to create an open and honest discussion to foster the best outcomes for students, educators, and the families affected by this proposal.

The resolution states, “the viability of the proposed plan should be thoroughly examined, considering factors such as funding availability, construction timelines, transportation logistics and the long-term sustainability of relocating. Boston Public Schools should also conduct a district-wide facilities plan to ensure school building decisions are based on the community needs by assessing the racial demographics of the area in order to support an inclusive and welcoming environment that is in the best interest of the students, parents and educators.”

The O'Bryant parents, students and educators have been left out of the decision-making process having only been offered one town hall to discuss the proposal since the announcement.

It is the responsibility of the Boston City Council to prioritize the needs of students, parents, guardians, and educators in school building decisions that directly impact residents and their neighborhood, and decisions should not be rendered without an equitable community engagement process.

During this week’s Council meeting, the Council adopted a resolution opposing the proposed plan to move the John D. O'Bryant School of Math and Science from Roxbury to West Roxbury. The Council calls on Boston Public Schools to provide a 10 year district-wide facility plan, as agreed with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, that includes a Green New Deal, and ensure the Boston Public Schools racial equity planning tool is used as a guide for these decisions.

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