William Brownsberger (D-2nd Suffolk and Middlesex, which includes Allston/Brighton and the Fenway), writes today he will vote no on Question 2, which would allow for more charter schools in the state, in part because he fears Boston's unique makeup could lead to a destabilization of its public-school system if the measure passed.
Brownsberger says letting charter schools into the better off towns in his district, where people often move for the public schools, would harm those districts. At the same time, he adds, the measure would hurt Boston, which has a large number of poor kids:
Boston is relatively capable financially and also has relatively high per pupil spending. It also has some high poverty areas. That makes it very attractive to charter operators - Boston charters have relatively high budgets and can focus on high-need kids, which, to their credit, is typically their motivation. The long-term problem that Boston faces is school-system overcapacity. Its resources are spread too thin across too many buildings already and the ongoing transition to lower enrollments means painful decisions to close schools. Question Two places no community-level limit on the expansion of charter schools. It would make possible a too-rapid expansion that would further destabilize the Boston schools.
The legislature has tried and failed to reach a viable compromise on charters. Unfortunately, the proposition that advocates have framed for the voters on November 8 does not provide a good solution either.
State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-2nd Suffolk), who was in the middle of the attempts to reach a compromise, has said she dislikes campaigns on either side of the issue and won't say how she's voting next month.