As part of BuildBPS, Mayor Martin J. Walsh established the $13 million “21st Century Schools Fund” to provide immediate, tangible, short-term capital investments in every Boston Public Schools building.During the 2017-18 school year, schools will receive a one-time allocation and have the opportunity to choose from a menu of non-structural capital investments, particularly classroom furniture. The investments are intended to help create learning environments more closely aligned with the 21st-century educational vision described in the BuildBPS report.
Mayor Walsh and Superintendent Chang charged the BuildBPS team with devising an allocation formula that would ensure equitable distribution of the funds. Each school would then have an opportunity to purchase classroom furniture to create instructional spaces more aligned to the educational vision in the BuildBPS report. In drafting an allocation formula, the BuildBPS team worked closely with various City and BPS departments. They explored a broad range of options to ensure that funds are distributed equitably based on each school’s size, furniture condition, and the needs of its students.
To that end, the team considered a number of factors and considered the outcomes of each scenario, in consultation with the BPS Office of Equity. They eventually recommended and the Superintendent’s Executive Committee approved a formula that:
- Provides a base dollar amount for each student;
- Factors in the “furniture score” from the Learning Environment portion of the BuildBPS facility assessments, adding greater weight to schools with furniture in poorer condition; and
- Incorporates the Weighted Student Funding (WSF) formula used in calculating schools’ annual operating budgets.
School leaders were notified about the 21st Century Schools Fund allocation for their buildings at the August Leadership Institute. Principals and Headmasters then work with their Instructional Leadership Teams and School Site Councils to review the menu of available purchases and select investments for their school communities.
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