Essaibi-George calls for hearing on BuildBPS
West Roxbury complex vote prompts inquiry
City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George, chair of the council’s Committee on Education, has called for a hearing asking for more transparency from the BuildBPS program, a plan to address construction issues at the majority of the schools in the Boston Public Schools district.
“Over the next few years I do believe that BuildBPS has the potential to improve many of our schools,” Essaibi-George said in the first City Council meeting of the year on Wednesday. “I do not believe that BPS has been able to provide sufficient answers.”
Essaibi-George had called for a hearing previously, but refiled the motion for the start of the new year.
She specifically noted as a reason for a hearing the Boston School Committee vote last month to close the West Roxbury Education Complex, which includes West Roxbury Academy and Urban Science Academy, at the end of this school year due to unsafe conditions in the buildings. The decision was widely criticized by students, teachers, city councilors and activists.
Councilors Lydia Edwards and Kim Janey voiced their support of the hearing at the council meeting. Edwards noted that the BuildBPS plan largely ignores her district, which includes Charlestown and East Boston, despite a large housing development currently being built there which will result in a much higher attendance in district schools.
“I really don’t see deep analysis or understanding of how our education system is going to meet the needs of rapid growth in the next 10 years,” Edwards said.
A spokesperson for Boston Public Schools declined to comment for this article, as they have discussed the issue before.
“It is important that we keep our families engaged, keep our school communities engaged, and to hold accountable our Boston school department to provide a real plan,” Essaibi-George said.