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BPS Announces Capital Budget and BuildBPS Plans to Improve Student Experience

Priorities include transparent educational pathways for students, five new school buildings, $80 million in renovations to current facilities

BOSTON - Wednesday, May 12 - Boston Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Brenda Cassellius today presents a capital budget and BuildBPS update to the Boston School Committee, proposing a plan to provide clearer pathways for students, build five new schools, and significantly upgrade current school buildings. The guiding principles for the updated plan are to achieve equitable access to educational opportunities and programs; provide excellent buildings that promote health, enhance learning, and motivate students; and ensure predictability and transparency in the district’s facilities master planning process.

The capital planning and BuildBPS update includes several clear components to bring greater transparency to the process for building and renovating school buildings and a clearer pathway of learning from early childhood to high school graduation. 

Superintendent Cassellius presents the proposal today as part of the ongoing BuildBPS educational and facilities master plan, a 10-year, $1 billion vision for transforming all school buildings into learning environments where students access the teaching and support services they need to be successful. BPS will continue its family and community engagement through October when the Superintendent will provide additional updates to the plan and request votes from the Committee. Meetings are shared on the BPS website.

“The vision for Boston Public Schools is that every student has access to learning opportunities that unlock their potential and help them flourish,” said Mayor Kim Janey. “That includes learning in excellent school buildings that reflect the high potential we know our students can reach and matches the talent of our educators. We have a long way to go to achieve our mission, but make no mistake, this proposal from the Superintendent provides a roadmap to bring us closer to this goal.”

The plan as presented by the Superintendent includes the following recommendations: 

  • 5 new school buildings: Construction of brand new school buildings in each of the neighborhoods of Allston/Brighton, Dorchester, East Boston, and Roxbury, as well as a new school for the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; 
  • 4 major school renovations: Following the approved closure of the Edwards Middle School at the end of the 2020-21 school year, the current merger of the BCLA-McCormack 7-12, and the proposed closures of the Irving and Timilty schools at the end of the 2021-22 school year, all three middle school buildings will be renovated as part of the long-term strategy to provide clear, predictable educational pathways for students and their families;
  • A timeline and plan for continued maintenance and upgrades of all school buildings 

“This hopeful vision for the future of BPS is a huge shift in the way we plan for our students’ education,” said Superintendent Cassellius. “We are stating now and for the future that our students will learn in 21st century classrooms and know with certainty how their education will progress for their entire time in BPS. As a district, we owe it to our students and their families to be upfront and transparent in our planning. This proposal moves us closer to earning the trust of our community and providing our students the learning environments they deserve.”

The capital budget and BuildBPS plan furthers the district’s and the City of Boston’s years-long commitment to expanding access to high quality pre-K. In addition to adding seats through major construction projects, BPS will engage school communities to explore options for creating additional seats through reconfigurations of K-8 schools for the 2022-2023 school year and beyond. Creating predictable, clear educational pathways from early childhood through high school includes graduating students prepared for college, career and life. BPS will continue its work to reimagine the secondary school experience by partnering with BPS heads of school to establish a foundation for high school quality as part of high school redesign, and will propose a plan to the Committee in Fall 2021.

“The School Committee thanks the Superintendent and her team for the ongoing and robust engagement of students, families, and the community in the development of this proposal and looks forward to continuing that conversation over the coming weeks and months,” said Alexandra Oliver-Dávila, Chairperson of the Boston School Committee. “For too long, the conversation has been about closing buildings instead of opening them and about deferred maintenance and much of the conversation has been behind the scenes. This Superintendent is pushing for greater transparency and is committed to making difficult decisions for the betterment of our students.”

Additional renovations and capital repairs will take place across the district, including upgrades to electrical and lighting, exterior refurbishment, repairs to roofs and boilers, updates to HVAC systems, and continued repairs to windows. BPS remains committed to engaging in a predictable and transparent process for facilities master planning that amplifies all voices and cultivates trust. The district will utilize Community Equity Roundtables to take action based on stakeholder input, which will further support an equity-centered strategic planning process.