Boston School Closings, Mergers Approved

BOSTON (CBS/AP) — The Boston School Committee has approved plans intended to plug a projected $63 million budget deficit over the next fiscal year and improve the quality of academic programs.

The Redesign and Reinvest proposals endorsed Thursday night are part of Superintendent Carol Johnson’s efforts to eliminate budget and performance gaps.

The plan include closing nine schools, merging eight others into four, creating two new charter schools and one innovation school.

View: List of Closures Mergers and Expansions List of Changes

“The approval of this plan is a major step forward in our work to make all of our city’s schools, schools of choice for parents,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “Calling for difficult changes in our schools is tough when I personally know so many students, parents, principals and teachers and their passions for our schools. I believe it’s much better to invest in the arts, athletics, and mentoring programs that help children learn, than it is to spend those precious dollars on empty seats.”

Lana Jones, WBZ News Radio 1030 reports

It also calls for restructuring the contract with the Boston Teachers Union to extend the school day, launch a teacher evaluation system tied to performance and link salaries and benefits to student results.

The reforms seek to trim massive daily transportation costs and fill 5,600 empty seats that cost $20 million spent annually.

All the changes will take place no sooner than fall 2011, school officials said.

The Boston Public School system serves more than 56,000 pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students in 135 schools.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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