Last week, the appointed Boston School Committee met to discuss the possible move of Boston Latin Academy (BLA) to the Hyde Park High School site. No action was taken on the matter. Should BLA move, Boston Arts Academy (BAA) would move into BLA’s Townsend St. site, and the Fenway would expand in its current location, which it shares now with BAA.
|Teachers, Parents, Students at School Committee Mtg.
(Mike Maguire, 9/7/11)
The BLA and BAA school communities each spoke eloquently and passionately at the school committee meeting: BLA on why it should not move into a smaller facility at Hyde Park, and BAA on why it needs a better, larger facility. One could not help coming away from the three-hour meeting with a feeling that the school department and superintendent are doing a profound disservice to BOTH school communities by pitting both schools against each other. In fact, many speakers commented on same. The reality is that BLA will not fit into the Hyde Park site, so that ought to be a non-starter for this proposed move. The deeper issue to be concerned about, however, is the pitting of one school against another. The way this issue is being handled sends a bad message to students, their parents, and both school communities. The school department and superintendent should do the right thing here and back off its reckless proposal.
Charge to School Committee: Help, but Don’t Hurt
The district has a dilemma of its own making, and none of the aforementioned schools ought to be harmed, however inadvertently. Each school needs a better site, or in the case of BLA, an improved site. While fixing up the BLA site for BLA, the district also has to find a good home for both BAA and Fenway. These are each excellent programs with unique strengths and student-drawing power. All three schools are estimable. The best answer: Go back to the drawing board and help out all three schools without hurting any.
Incidentally, a school department lawyer has opined that the appointed school committee will have no vote on the move. This position runs contrary to past school committee practice and has risen an eyebrow or two among school committee watchers. It appears that each other time BLA has moved in the last 40 years–Codman Square to Ipswich St., and Ipswich St. to Townsend St–a school committee vote was taken. So why not now?