Dorchester Reporter - $3.49b city budget gets council okay; 3 members critique BPS spending plan
Wednesday, July 3, 2019
The mayor’s full $3.49 billion city budget made it through the city council last week despite sharp critiques on the public schools spending plan from three councillors who voted against adopting the BPS budget.
Andrea Campbell, Lydia Edwards, and Michelle Wu cited issues of equity, school cuts, and stability in the public school system in voting against its spending request.
Up about $50 million from last year – to a total of $1.18 billion – the school budget includes items like funding for a full-time nurse in every school, additional paraprofessionals and mental health professionals, free menstrual products for students, free MBTA passes for 7-12 grade students, and moves toward universal pre-K.
“The education budget is not a perfect budget, but these are investments that we cannot ignore and say no to,” said Councillor At-Large Annissa Essabi-George at the council’s meeting last week. “These are investments that will help improve the services and support the needs of our students. My vote today serves to recognize the importance of those investments, but also the work that still is needed to provide our kids with the education they deserve.”
She added that she is still disappointed by the lack of investments to renovate facilities at Madison Park High School.
Other councillors said their neighborhoods were facing unacceptable cuts.
Edwards noted a $2.6 million loss for District 1 schools, the most for any district, with $1.2 million of the cuts coming directly from East Boston High School.
“I’m sorry to say that this budget is not a response in any way shape or form from a BPS that is listening to District 1,” Edwards said in voting against it. She added: “If a budget is a reflection of the values of a government, then it's very clear that BPS does not value District 1… we are dealing with a displacement crisis and the weighted student formula does not account for displacement that the community is dealing with.”