It’s not a race issue. I am white, my child is white and we want to stay right on Townsend Street. It seems the only ones to benefit from a move to Hyde Park will be Hyde Park families and kids attending Boston Arts Academy (BAA).
At a community meeting on Monday night, Aug. 22 at Boston Latin Academy (BLA) it was very clear to me that this “proposal” hasn’t even been researched. No one from the Boston Public Schools (BPS) could even answer if the current enrollment of BLA would fit in the Hyde Park Education Complex. BLA has 1,750 students plus staff and the enrollment figures for the Hyde Park Complex vary, but seem to be about 1,000. It doesn’t take a math genius to see that this isn’t likely going to be a good fit.
BLA was told, when they moved into Townsend Street, after a half-dozen moves to various locales around the city (a few of them very questionable: condemned buildings and a parking garage) — that Townsend Street would be its permanent home. Was that just another lie? I’m 44 and the school has been in three different locations in my lifetime alone. They need long-term roots and they need to not be treated differently than Boston Latin School (BLS). If anyone ever proposed carting BLS off to Hyde Park, the uproar would be deafening. BLA deserves the same uproar.
Hyde Park is near nothing. There is currently one bus line that runs from Forest Hills to anywhere near the school, and the school is located on a highly residential street. The BPS has not done a traffic impact study, they haven’t considered the impact of dozens of busses or the influx of nearly double the amount of students previously served.
Further, according to the MBTA the travel time for kids from East Boston and Charlestown should only be an extra 15 minutes. If you take the T, you know that if they quote you 15 minutes, it will take at least 30! BLA’s start time is 7:15 a.m. and many kids leave at or before 6 a.m. now to get there. It is insane to ask a kid to leave for school at 5:30 a.m. (keeping in mind that it is freezing and pitch dark at 5:30 a.m. in January, February and March).
If the Hyde Park Complex is so great, let the smaller Arts Academy move there, and expand slowly — if expanding is truly in the best interests of so specialized a school. But leave BLA alone.