Return to Headlines

Boston School Committee Passes Boston Public Schools’ FY17 Budget in a 5-2 Vote

BOSTON — The Boston School Committee passed the fiscal year 2017 Boston Public Schools’ (BPS) budget in a 5-2 vote after listening to comments from more than 30 city residents during its March 23 meeting.

The $1.027 billion budget represents an increase of $13.5 million over the previous school year and is the largest school budget in Boston’s history. Since taking office, Mayor Martin J. Walsh has increased funding to the Boston Public Schools by a total of nearly $90 million over three years.

“I am proud that the City of Boston continues to make increased investments in our youth,” Walsh said. “I appreciate the efforts that have gone into putting this budget together, and the input from the community. It is clear that providing our children the best possible education needs to remain a top priority. I look forward to working with the City Council and the community to finalize the budget.”

The approved budget will be submitted to the Boston City Council for final approval later this spring. The budget makes targeted investments in early and special education. These investments include adding more than 200 pre-kindergarten seats next year, $1 million for Special Education (SPED) support teams and $1 million to fund a SPED data system that will enhance parent access to their student’s individualized education plan and to provide BPS with better data to improve the quality of services.

Early childhood education is one of the most research-proven ways to close the opportunity and achievement gaps.

Boston School Committee Chairperson Michael O’Neill thanked the community for their comments during public hearings on the budget that began in February.

“I thank Superintendent Tommy Chang and the BPS Office of Finance for their hard work in preparing the budget for the School Committee,” O’Neill said. “We made difficult choices, but ensured that the updated budget is equitable and continues to provide for critical investments in pre-K and special education. However, the public input from this budget process shows there is a crucial need for shared advocacy in obtaining additional revenue from the state and federal governments to make up for funding plateaus.”

"This budget represents important work to close the opportunity and achievement gaps, while also addressing some challenges and tradeoffs due to continually rising costs," BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang said. "I am confident that this proposal is built on our values of equity, coherence and innovation, and I look forward to continuing this conversation as we move forward with the long-term financial plan for Boston Public Schools."

A recommended budget was first released on February 3rd and every dollar allocated to a school is tracked on a spreadsheet that is also available on the BPS website. Over the past two months, BPS has engaged in a public dialogue with the School Committee, listening to input from its members and the community. The School Committee has also held three public hearings on the proposed budget in Dorchester, Jamaica Plain and Roxbury.

BPS has released on its website a “Budget Basics” fact sheet that answers frequently asked questions about the budget process. The fact sheet can be found on bostonpublicschools.org.

For more information on the BPS budget, including the Budget Basics fact sheet, visit www.bostonpublicschools.org.