Last week the city finally released the much-sought-after McKinsey report (completed in March 2015), which was the subject of multiple Freedom of Information Requests, including one from the BTU and one by QUEST, the Boston parent activist group, which first obtained the report. We thank QUEST for their effort.
A streamlined version of the report was released in December 2015. The more expansive March version contained far more data and specific suggestions for cost savings. We understand why the city was hesitant to release it, as it calls for dozens of school closings as well as hundreds of staff consolidations. The report cost the city $660,000.
McKinsey concluded that the city currently has 30-50 surplus school buildings (with 38,000 surplus seats*) which, if closed and sold, could save the city one-time costs, as well as bring in new revenue of from $120 million to $205 million. Once the city closed these schools and terminated the “excess” staff, the city would thereafter save anywhere from $50 million to $80 million in annual operating expenses, or the equivalent of 500 to 900 teaching positions lost.
Here are some of the nuggets from the report:
- “If Boston were to meet peer average (on class size, they would carry ~1300 fewer teachers, at a savings of $90 to $110M.” (Slide 119)
- “Many closed school buildings could go towards City needs or be sold in areas where value is high. (slide 123)
- “BPS also has two properties which have exceedingly high land value (in Fenway and in Copley) which also could be examined for a capital infusion. (slide 125)
- “(There are) “Good Bones in the schools and the system.” (slide 85) No comment.
Read the entire 200+ page report. You’ll find it suggests a great many extreme cost-saving measures beyond the above: paraprofessionals and itinerant services to be contracted out and class size maxima to be eliminated are but two of the suggestions.