The Bay State Banner - Councilors approve budget, with objections
Thursday, July 4, 2019
The Boston City Council passed Mayor Martin Walsh’s $3.49 billion budget last week, with 10 members voting in favor of the $1.1 billion Boston Public Schools portion of the budget and councilors Andrea Campbell, Lydia Edwards and Michelle Wu voting against it.
The BPS budget includes measures for which the Boston Teachers Union fought, including 2 percent pay raises for staff and funding for a full-time nurse in every classroom. The overall 5 percent budget increase for the schools is on par with increases in the city’s budget in recent years.
Yet, as Edwards noted, the district’s weighted student funding formula, which ties funding to the number of students in a school, has led to $2.6 million in cuts for schools in East Boston.
“If a budget is a reflection of the values of a government, then it’s very clear that BPS does not value District 1 schools,” Edwards said during last week’s meeting.
Edwards, who represents East Boston, Charlestown and part of the North End, said the loss of students in East Boston schools is largely due to what she called a “displacement crisis,” where low-income, predominantly Latino families are being forced to move to other neighborhoods or cities as developers force out longtime tenants and drive up rents.
“The weighted student formula does not account for the displacement that a community is dealing with,” she said. “You cannot simply look at who is not there and then cut the budget. And then say displacement has no impact.”