CPS Statement to the Boston School Committee: “Lay your cards on the table”

Thank you for the opportunity to speak today. I am Lisa Guisbond, executive director of Citizens for Public Schools. We have been working to strengthen public schools across the state for more than 30 years.

We joined with other organizations to sign a letter to you and to Mayor Walsh about community involvement in Build BPS and the major decisions about grade configuration, school start times, and perhaps school closures that are likely to be associated with Build BPS.

The letter is 750 words long. I can summarize it in six: Lay your cards on the table.

These decisions will affect the lives of thousands of children. If you genuinely want community involvement, you must spell out the alternatives you are considering. Don’t dribble out your plan, a small school closing here, a parcel of land there.

We urge you to learn the lesson of the start time fiasco. You had 10,000 responses from the school communities. That’s a lot.

But you never said, “We have one plan that shifts high school times later, saves $12 million which is 1 percent of the budget, and it starts 30 schools at 7:15 am, with eight of them letting out at 1:15pm. What do you think?”

This time around, tell people what you have in mind. Find out what they think of it. And pay attention to the people who know the schools best because they live and work in the schools every day.

Thank you.