Barros Releases $4 Billion Plan to Create World-Class Quality Schools in Every Neighborhood

Candidate for Mayor John Barros today called for a $4 billion school building campaign to ensure that every Boston student has access to world-class quality schools and state-of-the-art campus spaces in their neighborhood from birth to when they begin a career.

Barros, Boston’s first Chief of Economic Development and the former Executive Director of Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), would invest $4 billion dollars to build new or refreshed buildings and campuses throughout the city, starting with those in neighborhoods that have been neglected the longest.

“In a city as wealthy as Boston, there’s no excuse for the fact that so many students attend school on aging, crumbling campuses with inadequate educational facilities. We have to end the single-minded focus on the limited number of exam school seats, and work to ensure that every single Boston student has access to a top-tier assignment to a great school in their own neighborhood,” said John Barros. “Throughout my career, I’ve helped design, build, and open new state-of-the-art schools like the Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School, the Dearborn STEM Academy, Boston Arts Academy, the Eliot Innovation School, and the Josiah Quincy Upper School. I have a plan to build world-class schools in every neighborhood, fully fund them, and deliver opportunity for the next generation in every corner of our city.”

John’s plan calls for the use of $4 billion, leveraging the City of Boston’s AAA bonding authority including energy efficiency and climate resiliency ‘green bonds,’ to build new schools in every neighborhood that will include:

•modernizing systems for health, safety, climate management and adaptation, with new school buildings designed to anchor micro-grids;

•full digital connectivity and wireless internet across each building and campus;

•state-of-the-art designs in every school for inspiring classrooms, science labs, libraries, athletic spaces, art studios and theaters, which will be aligned with adjacent or proximate BCYF community centers that extend their campuses; and

•creating neighborhood campus areas with outdoor spaces that aid in heat and flood mitigation, outdoor classrooms, play spaces, and community spaces.

John’s plan would build on the Boston Public School’s BuildBPS plan by using public-private partnerships to fast-track the construction of a new generation of world-class schools as part of community campus hubs that support a range of supports for students and families. To close the gaps in student support and services, his plan also calls for full funding of resources for English Language learners, students with special needs, and low-income students at every school to close opportunity gaps and ensure that all schools have adequate numbers of educators, counselors, nurses, paraprofessionals, and other school staff.

“Every Boston student deserves all the same amenities that students in the suburbs enjoy, from science labs and gymnasiums to libraries and modern classrooms,” said John. “Every Boston student deserves the same access to guidance counselors, after-school help, and personalized help in the classroom. My plan will move us past yesterday’s debates and deliver on the promise of a great neighborhood school for every family.”

John is the only candidate for Mayor with experience in the building of new schools and community centers. As Executive Director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), John led a highly collaborative grant application process with 36 community partners and won a $5 million Promise Neighborhood planning grant from the US Department of Education, and later a $6 million implementation grant. These grants were pivotal in the effort to turn around Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School, Dearborn Middle School, and Burke High School, and established a new in-district charter, the Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School. Also during that time, John led the community engagement and three-month Article 80 process for the design and construction of the Salvation Army Kroc Community Center, as well as the project’s unprecedented hiring practices and workforce requirements.

As Boston’s first Chief of Economic Development and a member of Mayor Marty Walsh’s cabinet, John helped oversee the design and construction of multiple new or renovated schools, including:

•the Dearborn STEM Academy, a brand new, $70 million state-of-the-art middle school STEM facility;

•the Boston Arts Academy, one of the nation’s leading public arts high schools;

•the Eliot Innovation School, one of the only Boston public schools with a K-8 robotics & engineering program; and

•the Josiah Quincy Upper School, Boston’s only high school offering the rigorous International Baccalaureate pre-college program.

The City of Boston is in a strong bonding position because of the work John did with the Walsh administration that supported 7 years of AAA bond ratings.

John’s school building plan is part of a multi-faceted education plan being released this week, which will also include plans for college and career pathways and family support services.

“John’s education policy plan is an important example of the innovative thinking we need in education, not only in Boston, but across the country,” said Turahn Dorsey, Boston’s former Chief of Education. “John is proposing new approaches to education financing, modernizing content and instruction and education system governance from early education, through K-12, through higher education that will connect these disjointed segments of the education pipeline to the greater benefit of Boston’s young people. John is also acutely aware that educational outcomes are driven by families’ economic stability and, as such, we need the guaranteed minimum income and housing supports that he is calling for.”

For all policy proposals and campaign information, please visit www.barrosformayor.com.

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