“It’s no secret the COVID-19 pandemic supercharged a decline in enrollment in public schools across the country, and Boston Public Schools is no exception. But while COVID accelerated the decline, BPS enrollment has been on a downward trajectory for two decades.
A recent analysis by the Boston Schools Fund found enrollment declined for the eighth straight year in 2022 and is down 15.3 percent since 2014, a loss of more than 8,000 students — most of them Black students. More than 60 percent of BPS schools had a decrease in enrollment over the past five years.
Yet BPS continues to operate 125 school buildings with a capacity to serve 55,200 students — 6,900 more than are currently enrolled. Demographic trends show that Boston will need fewer schools as time goes on, not more. Underutilized buildings cost the same to run as fully enrolled schools, but BPS is operating and transporting students to — at a minimum — 16 more school buildings than it needs.
This poses fiscal, educational, and environmental challenges.
Because funding is based on enrollment, underenrolled schools have less money to pay bills and ensure students have the schoolwide resources, academic supports, and staffing they need to learn.”
Read Mary Tamer’s op-ed in full in The Boston Globe.