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Boston Public Schools' FY18 Budget Proposal to Include Projected $40 Million Increase; Allows Expansion of Key Enrichment and Academic Programs

Boston, MA - Wednesday, February 1, 2017 - The Boston Public Schools (BPS) today released its proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18), which will make significant investments in programs that will benefit students across Boston. Mayor Martin J. Walsh's FY18 proposal increases BPS spending by a projected $40 million, funding investments in initiatives such as Extended Learning Time (ELT); addressing student homelessness; Excellence for All (EFA), a rigorous curriculum for fourth-and-fifth grade students; and vocational programming.


"This budget proposal opens doors of opportunity for children at Boston Public Schools," said Mayor Walsh. "We are focused on providing a high-quality education for every student in every neighborhood. This budget allows for the funding of programs that support student populations in need of alternative or additional services to excel and grow. Our students deserve a pathway to success, and I look forward to continuing the work of BPS to positively shape all students."

The district's proposed budget will increase funding by more than three percent, providing an additional $22 million for schools. With this increase, students and teachers will directly benefit from new resources to support a longer school day in 39 more schools, the expansion of vocational education at The English High School and Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers, new flexible resources for students experiencing homelessness and nearly 100 pre-kindergarten seats. The funding allocations will further rise when new collective bargaining agreements are reached.
 

"This budget proposal opens doors of opportunity for children at Boston Public Schools,"
Mayor Walsh.

 
"The proposed budget is the result of a comprehensive effort to direct dollars directly into our classrooms," said Superintendent Tommy Chang. "It is imperative that we continue to build upon our successes as a school district by providing strong academic and social-emotional support for our students."

Boston Public Schools uses a weighted student funding formula that allocates money for school budgets based on student need. All existing weights will be maintained in the budget that Superintendent Chang presented to the School Committee today, February 1, and additional funding will be made available for schools serving students experiencing homelessness and schools extending their school days.

The City of Boston FY18 Budget will appropriate $1.061 billion to Boston Public Schools and allocate $20 million in a collective bargaining reserve to be used as BPS union negotiations are completed. With this investment, Mayor Walsh has increased funding for the Boston Public Schools' annual budget by $143 million since taking office, despite stagnant state aid: Boston's Chapter 70 Education revenue from the Commonwealth has grown just $8 million and Boston's charter school reimbursement has dropped by $9 million despite a $64 million increase in charter costs borne by the City.

The investments in the FY18 budget include:

Extended Learning Time


Through support from Mayor Walsh, BPS is investing an additional $14 million in children that will provide valuable, added instruction and enrichment to 15,000 more students at 39 schools next fall. This additional time will allow thousands more students across BPS to participate in high-quality learning and enrichment opportunities -- from personalized instruction and foreign language classes to arts programs, physical education and student clubs -- and help close opportunity and achievement gaps.

Over the past few years, BPS has made significant progress in extending the school day for students. With the help from dedicated teachers, BPS is now set to fully deliver on this commitment to Extended Learning Time (ELT) bringing Boston in line with national length-of-school-day averages. National studies have shown that more classroom time for students helps boost academic achievement and student growth. ELT will result in 120 additional hours of learning time, or the equivalent of 20 added school days a year, across 57 schools serving more than 23,000 students in only three years.

Support for Homeless Students


With a targeted approach to closing opportunity and achievement gaps, a $1.1 million investment will benefit more than 2,500 students experiencing homelessness. Schools will be able to decide how funding is spent to directly impact the greatest needs of their students. The Homeless Education Resource Network (HERN) and the Opportunity Youth Department will provide guidance to schools with an index of support services and resources that have been proven to be effective. Additionally, BPS will provide enhanced training and assistance at the school level to ensure that students experiencing homelessness have individualized resources and support to learn successfully in the classroom.

In December 2016, BPS and the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) launched a pilot initiative to track and share targeted information about students experiencing homelessness, which was made possible through a mutual data sharing agreement. Involved parties are now able to confidentially exchange student-specific information that will provide insight into the students' engagement levels and potential target areas for support.


Excellence for All


The Boston Public Schools is strengthening its commitment to Excellence For All in the 2017-18 school year by increasing its investment to $2 million in this groundbreaking initiative that offers students in the 4th, and now 5th grade, rigorous instruction and enriched learning opportunities.

BPS last year committed $1.2 million to develop and implement Excellence For All to serve 875 fourth-grade students at the 13 schools where it is being piloted. The district will increase that funding in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget by an additional $715,000 to support the expansion of the program to a new grade of students. Next year, Excellence For All will reach 4th grade and, for the first time, 5th grade students in those 13 schools -- doubling the number of students served by the program.

While BPS provides Advanced Work Classes (AWC) to students who score over a certain threshold on 3rd grade standardized tests, EFA gives all students the opportunity to experience a challenging educational experience. The demographics of students served by EFA match or exceed the district's percentages of key subgroups that are currently underrepresented by Advanced Work Classes. For example, black students, who represent 30 percent of the district's 4th graders, made up 33 percent of the students in EFA compared to 11 percent of students in AWC. Meanwhile, students with disabilities, who account for 21 percent of the 4th grade students in BPS, represented 24 percent of the students in EFA versus one percent in AWC.

Excellence for All schools offer students many of the same quality enrichment opportunities afforded to AWC students. EFA students can begin to learn languages such as Spanish, French, Chinese and Japanese. They will also be exposed to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) instruction through a LEGO Education robotics course that teaches computer coding skills.

Vocational Programming


The proposal will include a $1.3 million investment to expand vocational education to students at English High School and Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers (EMK). Vocational-technical programming in BPS focuses on providing students with rigorous academic and technical educational training to acquire the skills necessary to pursue postsecondary career opportunities.

At English High, this funding will support the growth of five career technical education (CTE) pathways for students: Programming and Web Development; Business, Finance, and Entrepreneurship; Health Assisting and Wellness; Design and Visual Communication; and Protective Services, a pathway for criminal justice, emergency dispatching, emergency medical services, police officers and firefighters. With the support of the Boston Police Department, the Protective Services pathway also connects students to the revived Boston Police Cadet Program. CTE is an important option for students and families among the many types of high school programming. Career and technical education sets the expectation that students will be preparing for both college and career in their pathway courses.

EMK was the first BPS, in-district charter school to seek and be granted Chapter 74 status, which allows the delivery of vocational-technical programs. Students will be able to secure their Certified Nursing Assistant credentials prior to graduation, placing them on an accelerated pathway to a nursing career. The program will launch in September 2017.

Through CTE instruction, English High and EMK will strive to prepare graduates for an economy that increasingly demands postsecondary credentials, with an estimated two-thirds of jobs requiring some postsecondary education by 2018.1

Universal Pre-K


Continuing Mayor Walsh's commitment to providing high-quality pre-kindergarten to Boston's four-year olds, this budget invests $600,000 to set up a universal pre-k infrastructure at Boston Public Schools and continue a pre-kindergarten seat expansion. Through targeted investments, Boston has moved closer to its goal of providing a high-quality pre-K seat for every four-year old in the City. Studies show that investments in high-quality pre-K translate directly into closing achievement gaps.

With this funding, Boston will have added 422 seats at Boston Public Schools under Mayor Walsh's leadership, and anticipates 100 more pre-kindergarten students will be served in FY18.

While Boston has been increasing early education investments at BPS, the Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) Taskforce has studied ways to enable a full scale, high-quality, universal, mixed delivery system in Boston. It found that Boston has solved the overall access challenge, but continues to face a significant shortage of quality seats. The taskforce estimates a 1,350 seat gap in Boston between the number of quality seats and the current number of four-year-olds.The UPK Taskforce will continue to explore initial K1 options for K1 in both BPS and community settings.

In addition to adding seats at BPS in FY18, this investment would set up the infrastructure at BPS to implement the strategy coming out of the UPK Taskforce, which includes investing in teacher compensation, teacher credentialing, early learning curricula and program accreditation.

In January, Mayor Walsh proposed legislation to dedicate $16.5 million to early education in Boston by redirecting surplus tourism revenue from the Convention Center Fund, which is exclusively raised in the City of Boston.


School Maintenance


In order to enhance our ability to provide students with a clean learning environment, an investment of $300,000 is included in the proposal to provide schools with substitute custodians, who will take on janitorial responsibilities when full-time custodians are not on duty.

Additionally, a $340,000 investment will be made to support our commitment to ensure every child has access to clean water at school, through increased testing and water filtration. Nearly 75 percent of this investment will be dedicated to increasing testing to ensure alignment with the water policy approved by the School Committee in June 2016.

Building on his commitment to Boston's students, Mayor Walsh recently proposed transformative education finance legislation at the State House to expand access to high-quality education for students of all ages. Mayor Walsh is partnering with Boston's State Legislators to propose targeted state education finance reforms that will increase annual funding to Boston by $35 million in its first year of implementation, and position Boston to receive $150 million in additional annual Chapter 70 aid within a few years if the state identifies a new revenue source for investments in education.

Dr. Chang's budget proposal this evening is the start of a two-month public process during which the BPS School Committee will review these proposals and hear from the BPS community. On March 23, the School Committee will vote to submit the proposed BPS budget to the City of Boston.

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1 Symonds,W.C.,Schwartz,R.,& Ferguson,R.F. (2011). Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of PreparingYoung Americans for the 21st Century. Cambridge, MA: Pathways to Prosperity Project, Harvard University Graduate School of Education. (p.2)