Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced the city will be investing $100 million in its public schools, focusing in part on students’ mental health services, activities and curriculum improvements.
The investment, announced in Walsh’s 2020 State of the City address Tuesday night at Symphony Hall, will be phased in over three years. Funds are expected to go to every public school in the city, and they will be directed to students or school-provided services, the mayor’s office said in a statement.
The additional funding will be made on top of standard cost increases, including inflation and employee costs, the statement said.
“This historic, new funding will allow us to provide direct support to every single student, starting with those who need it the most,” Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said in the statement.
The Boston School Committee will receive her recommendation on a fiscal budget for 2021 in February, according to Walsh’s office.
The new funds from the city are expected to supplement Cassellius’s strategic vision, a document presented to the school committee in December that outlines goals for the upcoming year for the city’s public schools, including improving students’ experiences and closing opportunity gaps. A final version of the document will be presented to the committee again on Jan. 15, Walsh’s office said.
“The strategic vision was formed following her four-month long community tour across Boston, where she visited all 125 schools, hosted 98 community meetings, and engaged with more than 2,100 people,” Walsh’s office said.
Walsh also announced in his Tuesday night speech various proposals aimed at combatting the city’s affordable housing crisis, including a pilot program that would offer affordable housing vouchers funded by Boston.
The $100 million investment in city schools comes nearly three months after Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a bill investing $1.5 billion in public schools across the state. Jessica Tang, president of the Boston Teachers Union, said while the additional state-level funding was “welcome news,” the investment will not meaningfully impact Boston for several years, and the city’s investment will “help fill the gaps.”
“This historic investment is great news for public school students, parents and educators across the city,” she said.
Boston Public Schools’s 2020 fiscal year budget includes $1.177 billion, $15 million of which will go to expanding access to pre-kindergarten for four year olds in the city, according to Walsh’s office.
“Other signature investments include free MBTA passes to all Boston students in grades 7-12; full-time nurses in every school, additional mental health counselors, and tuition-free community college available to BPS graduates,” Walsh’s office said.