If you have kids that attend Boston public schools, you understand how important every dollar is to ensure that your student is getting the best educational experience available. So when the Boston Globe reported that the Boston School Department spent $122.5 million on school transportation last year alone, it has us scratching our heads wondering if this money well spent.
Dorchester resident, former BPS teacher and City Councilor At-large Annissa Essaibi George believes the money would be better spent in the classroom. Boston School Committee Chairman Michael Loconto feels the same way. On the other hand, some parents are concerned their children may not get a quality education without transportation to schools in different neighborhoods.
Here are some interesting and eye-opening takeaways from the Boston Globe article:
- Boston has among the highest per-student busing costs in the nation.
- A report by Northeastern University states that the current computer system which assigns students to schools is actually making segregation worse.
- For many parents, buses symbolize an opportunity for students to go to a high performing school in a different neighborhood.
- Boston doesn’t have enough quality schools for all students to attend.
- Currently we are sending kids on bus trips across the city to attend underperforming schools. To Essaibi George, this is a catch-22. If kids could just go to their neighborhood school – even if it is underperforming – BPS could invest the money saved from busing a student an hour to another underperforming school into said neighborhood school.
- 87 % of BPS enrollment are students of color.
- Boston Area Research Initiative at Northeastern University suggested changing the assignment system to even the competitive playing field for quality education. “Families in neighborhoods with high densities of children should get more high-quality schools to apply to.”
To see a list of all BPS schools, visit here. To see how the school ranks, click on individual school to review the school’s report card.
Bottomline: an overhaul of the entire Boston Public School System needs to happen. We realize this has been the hopes and dreams of every resident of Boston for decades but when will something be done? Lack of quality schools in in all neighborhoods is a real problem for working families.*
The question of buses or no buses is a question of value. For the whopping $122.5 million price tag, what are we getting? Poor service and kids on buses stuck in traffic for hours a day? Wouldn’t that money be better spent providing classroom services? We think so.
*Editor’s note: Two of our three children were fortunate enough to test into the the BPS exam schools. There are 3 – Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy and the O’Bryant. Our youngest was not and we now pay $22,000 to send our son to private school due to lack of quality public schools in Boston.