Mayor testifies at an education committee hearing regarding laws that affect Boston Public Schools
October 13, 2015
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today provided testimony at a hearing held by the Joint Committee on Education regarding Massachusetts' educations laws that affect public schools in Boston.
"There is no more vital issue - to me, to our city, or to our Commonwealth - than the education and future of our children," said Mayor Walsh. "I have seen first-hand the value that public charter schools provide to our students and our communities. Charter schools have proven that they belong in our portfolio of schools, along with district, private, and parochial schools."
In building upon his support of all schools in Boston, Mayor Walsh offered the proposals below during his testimony:
1. Provide Greater Access to School Turnaround Tools
- Allow lowest 10% performing districts to apply Level 4 turnaround tools to Level 3 schools.
- Define a 5-year transition period, beginning when a school exits from underperforming status. During this period, the turnaround plan and agreement which resulted in those improvements would remain in place, to ensure that gains continue.
- Allow one or more parts of a Joint Resolution Committee decision to be opened for renegotiation without opening the entire agreement.
- Clarify that Joint Resolution Committee decisions would stay in effect if a turnaround plan is renewed at the end of the first 3 years.
- Provide districts with the flexibility to address a subset of school employees who have been separated from their positions, but have failed to secure any new role in the classroom.
2. Lift the Cap on Public Charter Schools
- Increase the charter cap to 23% of Net School Spending for the lowest 10% districts.
- Phase in this cap lift by an increase of 0.5% of a district's Net School Spending per year.
3. Create Facilities and Transportation Parity
- Make charter schools eligible for Massachusetts School Building Authority funding.
- Maintain the district's responsibility to pay for 100% of charter transportation costs, if a charter school agrees to the school start time requested by the district. Costs would be shared (50/50) between the district and the charter if a start time is not mutually agreed to.
- Hold charter schools responsible for transportation costs on days when the district is not in session but the charter is and for any independent transportation vendor costs.
- Apply any limits to transportation that a district puts in place for district schools to charter schools in the same municipality.
4. Ensure a Sustainable Public Education System
- Eliminate the existing charter tuition reimbursement formula for cities and towns.
- Commit the Commonwealth's support for additional charter school seats by providing 3 years of transitional funding (100% of the tuition in Year 1, 50% in Year 2, and 25% in Year 3) directly to charter schools in districts whose charter costs exceed 9% of net school spending.
- Simplify the funding of charter facilities by having the per pupil facilities rate provided directly from the Commonwealth to charter schools, eliminating municipalities as a pass through.