Dear Mayor Menino,
A small, vocal group of parents with children at the Mission Hill School have been waging a campaign to derail the BPS administration’s plan to relocate the school to Jamaica Plain.
I am writing in opposition to their campaign and in support of the relocation plan as proposed by Dr. Johnson.
Opposition to the move boils down to concern that it will be detrimental to some families who currently have children at the school. While true, that one factor should not outweigh all others in the decision-making process.
When all factors are taken into consideration, it is clear that repurposing some BPS school buildings is necessary and serves the long-term best interests of the city and its students. Given that some relocations are necessary and inevitable, if it’s not the Mission Hill families who are forced to deal with that, it will just be some other school’s families instead.
Dr. Johnson and the BPS administration obviously want to do the right thing; they have no incentive to move schools without good reason or spend money that does not need to be spent. Furthermore, they have access to more and better information than BPS parents. Finally, while BPS parents understandably and reasonably focus on what is best for their own children, Dr. Johnson is in a position to see with more clarity what is best for all BPS children.
Until recently, I was hoping to sit on the sidelines of this debate, because I did not want to stand in opposition to other well-meaning BPS parents. However, their campaign has gotten louder and louder, and in my opinion more and more disingenuous, and I feel that I can no longer remain silent.
Please do not allow the narrow interests of a small group of people to block a plan which will benefit the city greatly.
I also sent the above letter to Mark Ciommo (my city councillor) and the at-large city councillors, as well as to the school committee, and a slightly edited variant of it to Superintendent Johnson herself.
For background information, see the Boston Public Schools web page about the 2012 facilities plan. It’s about a heck of a lot more than just moving the Fenway High School and Mission Hill School.