Daily Archives: December 2, 2010

BPS Reveals List Of Proposed School Closures

Published December 2, 2010

After I reported that Roger Clap Elementary School would be spared from closure, the Boston Public Schools “Redesign” site appeared to be updated with a list of proposed closures and mergers. And now, about 10 minutes later, the list is gone.

We were able to grab the list before it disappeared. Here it is:

  • Merge Lee Academy with Lee Elementary, create a K-8
    Lee Academy would become a K0-1 program and Lee Elementary would operate a Grade 2-8 program. Both would exist in the same building as they do today.
  • Merge Alighieri and Umana
    These schools would merge to create a K-8 in the Umana building. The Umana is also scheduled for a major renovation within the next two years, so the K-8 would be phased in.
  • Merge Urban Science Academy and Parkway Academy of Technology and Health
    These schools would merge to create one school, led by USA. The programs would stay in the same building.
  • Merge Brook Farm Business & Service Career Academy and Media Communications Technology High School
    These schools would merge to create one school. The programs would stay in the same buildings.
  • Merge Excel High School and Monument High School
    These schools would merge to create one school, led by Excel. The programs would stay in the same buildings.
  • Expand Holland Elementary
    Add one K1 classroom.
  • Expand Trotter Elementary
    Add one K1 classroom.
  • Expand King K-8
    Current East Zone ELC K1 and K2 students move to the King.
  • Relocate Community Academy of Science and Health
    Relocate program to the Cleveland Building in Dorchester (East Zone).
  • Unite and expand TechBoston Academy
    TechBoston Academy will become a unified Grade 6-12 program at Dorchester Education Complex, and increases high school seats.
  • Move Dorchester Academy
    Program moves from Dorchester Education Complex to the Wilson Building.
  • Close East Zone ELC
    Current K1 and K2 students are relocated to King K-8 if they choose
  • Close Fifield Elementary
    Students have priority for available East Zone schools, after sibling preference is taken into account.
  • Close Middle School Academy
    Program moves to the current Gavin building
  • Close Emerson Elementary
    Regular education students have priority for available seats in the North Zone, after sibling preference. Cape Verdean SEI students move together to a different school.
  • Close Farragut Elementary
    Students have priority for available seats in other North Zone schools, after sibling preference.
  • Close Agassiz Elementary
    Students have priority for available seats in other West Zone schools, after sibling preference.
  • Close The Engineering School
    Students have priority for available seats in other high schools, after sibling preference.
  • Close Social Justice Academy
    Students have priority for available seats in other high schools, after sibling preference.
  • Clap Elementary becomes our first “Innovation School”
    Students remain in the school but the program gets a “fresh start.” Apply for Innovation School status granted under new state law.
  • Convert Gavin Middle School to “Up Academy”
    Current Gavin students are guaranteed enrollment in UP Academy as long as they fill out a simple application form. Incoming 6th grade students can apply from anywhere in the city.

A BPS spokesman confirmed the list was published prematurely and the information is correct.

Update: Afer BPS made the list officially official tonight, I see a new item:

  • Expand Dearborn to a 6-12 STEM program
    Dearborn Middle School will become a 6-12 STEM program, focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Dorchester’s Clap Elementary Is Spared

Published December 2, 2010

Roger Clap Elementary, the tiny school in Dorchester threatened with closure, has won a reprieve.  I’m told Clap will be converted to an “innovation school,” which would give the district authority to fire teachers and impose new academic standards.

Clap Elementary parent Kenny Jervis distributed pictures of heartbreaking posters like these.

Clap Elementary parent Kenny Jervis distributed pictures of heartbreaking posters like these.

I wrote about Clap back in October, after it was included on a list of six schools that Boston Public Schools Superintendent Carol Johnson said she planned to shut down. Parents there mounted an extraordinary defense.

One particularly savvy  parent was Kenny Jervis, a private chef, whose 7-year-old, Sophia, and 4-year-old, Nigel, attend Clap Elementary. He was working away from home — literally on an island — when he got the news.

“They put letters in our kids’ backpacks,” he said. “Having my four-year-old translate the school closing — without me being able to translate to him what that meant — was devastating.

Jervis started an e-mail and Twitter campaign from his cell phone, rallying parents to save the school. When I attended a meeting with Johnson on Oct. 14, turnout was nearly 100 percent. School officials assured parents that Johnson might revise her closure plan after hearing public feedback.

Today, Johnson expanded that plan — bringing to 12 the number of schools that would be closed or merged to help fill a $63 million budget gap next year. Parents at the affected schools received phone calls (instead of notes in their kids’ backpacks) but Johnson won’t reveal the list of schools until a meeting at 6 o’clock tonight.

Speaking to WBUR’s Morning Edition, Johnson called school closures a difficult but necessary decision.

Jervis said he received a call from City Councilor Bill Linehan and state Sen. Jack Hart that Clap would be the only school converted to an innovation school. Test scores at the 166-child school are among the lowest in the district.

The “innovation” concept is similar to a pilot school or an in-district charter school, but only existing schools can win that designation.

Jervis is skeptical of the concept and worried that Clap is just being put on life support. “There have been many cases across the country where they go in with these ideas that don’t work — and then pull the plug,” he said.

Matt Wilder, the BPS spokesman, said he would not comment before tonight’s meeting.

Update: BPS mistakenly revealed the full list of proposed school closures on its website for a few minutes after I wrote this story.

Poll: Brown Up At Least 7 On Hypothetical ’12 Challengers

Published December 2, 2010

Twenty-three months before a re-election bid, Massachusetts’ lone Republican congressional delegate is in a strong position, according to a new poll.

A new poll has Sen. Scott Brown up on Gov. Deval Patrick in a hypothetical 2012 Senate match-up. (AP)

When matched up against five hypothetical Democratic opponents, Sen. Scott Brown has a clear lead against all five. The closest competitors are seven points behind.

The poll, released today (PDF) by Public Policy Polling, has Brown seven points up on Gov. Deval Patrick, 49-42, and Vicki Kennedy — the widow of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, whose seat Brown replaced — 48-41.

Brown also tops three well-tenured Greater Boston congressmen: Rep. Ed Markey, 49-39; Rep. Mike Capuano, 52-36; and Rep. Stephen Lynch, 49-30.

Though Massachusetts reaffirmed its “midnight blue” color on Nov. 2, the poll found the Republican Brown with the highest approval rating (53 percent, against just 29 percent disapproval) among the five incumbents. It also found him receiving support from approximately 25 percent of Democrats, “something usually only seen in Southern Democratic states like North Carolina,” PPP says.

With the exception of the governor, however, the four other potential challengers are “far less known” than Brown, indicating that margins could close if candidates indeed mount a Senate bid. None of the five hypothetical challengers has announced an intention to run.

The poll, conducted this week, surveyed 500 Massachusetts voters — 42 percent of whom were Democrats, followed by 38 percent independent and 20 percent Republican. The poll had a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.


ElectionWire resides on Hubbub during the electoral off-season.

Mayor Menino Is Hospitalized Again

Published December 2, 2010

Mayor Thomas Menino is in the hospital for the 10th time since taking office in 1993, the Globe reports:

Menino returned to Brigham and Women’s Hospital at about 6 p.m. and has remained there today, said the spokeswoman, Dot Joyce. He spent three days in the hospital over Thanksgiving after he contracted a bacterial infection in his left elbow on a trip to Italy.

“The infection is clearing up nicely,” Joyce said. “He’s just having a negative reaction to the medication.”

Menino turns 69 68 later this month.

Can Chuck Turner Run For His Own Seat?

Published December 2, 2010

James Michael Curley (Via Wikimedia Commons)

James Michael Curley (Via Wikimedia Commons)

Soon-to-be-former City Councilor Chuck Turner is not the type of guy to go down without a fight. After the Boston City Council voted to expel him from the board, Turner likened himself to James Michael Curley, the legendary Irish politician who once served as Boston mayor from jail. (Curley, according to Truthopædia, served four nonconsecutive terms — as the 41st, 43rd, 45th and 48th mayor of Boston!)

Turner has till Friday to vacate his office.

State law prohibits Turner from serving in prison — but there is no such law against serving while on probation. So here are my questions:

  • When is the special election to replace Turner? (Will it be before his Jan. 25 sentencing?)
  • Can Turner re-run for his own seat?
  • Would he?

Of course, the council could immediately expel Turner if he won. Wednesday’s 11-1 vote showed that Turner has no support outside of Councilor Charles Yancey.

Update: In response, Gintautas Dumcius (@gintautasd) of the Dorchester Reporter tweets:

He told me on Monday he isn’t, though if he changes his mind, it wouldn’t be the first time.

Foxboro Won’t Be Hosting World Cup Games Anytime Soon

Published December 2, 2010

The United States lost its bid to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup in 2022. Had we won, Gillette Stadium almost certainly would have played host to many soccer matches.

FIFA also announced Russia would host the tournament in 2018.

Russia was chosen over England and joint bids by Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium. Qatar was competing with the U.S., Australia, Japan and South Korea.

The ESPN guy said it best: “We have 12 years to agree on the pronunciation of Qatar.”

Thursday Morning: Boston Wants To Close 12 Schools

Published December 2, 2010

What’s news on a seasonally pleasant Thursday morning in Boston:

Superintendent Carol Johnson plans to close or merge 12 Boston schools. She says the district faces a $63 million budget shortfall. (Globe)

Job seekers are blasting Sen. Scott Brown for blocking unemployment benefits. “The decision is not whether we should extend the benefits, it is how should we pay for them,” Brown said. Democratic Rep. Michael Capuano retorted: “We can find hundreds of billions of dollars for tax cuts for the rich that add to the national deficit, and we can’t find money for the unemployed?” (Herald)

A defiant Chuck Turner portrayed himself as the black James Michael Curley, a legendary Irish mayor who served from prison after being convicted. The city council expelled Turner, now a convicted felon, in a high-drama hearing Wednesday. (WBUR)

Justice Roderick Ireland doesn’t support the governor’s plan to take over the Probation Department. “I feel very strongly that the judiciary should have supervisory responsibility for probation,” Ireland said Wednesday at his confirmation hearing for chief justice. (WBUR)

Middlesex Sheriff James DiPaola was laid to rest in Malden. It was a private service for DiPaola, who killed himself last week. (Globe)