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Arroyo: Time for the BPDA to vote on proposed charter school on the Roslindale/West Roxbury line

City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo (Roslindale, Hyde Park, Mattapan) writes that it's time for the BPDA to stop delaying action on Roxbury Prep's proposal to turn the old Clay Chevrolet on Belgrade Avenue into a new high school, that Roxbury Prep students deserve a modern high school and that a school literally in front of a commuter-rail stop and with several bus lines running past it will not gridlock local streets.

Last month, Arroyo replaced Tim McCarthy, who had opposed the school.

Neighborhoods: 

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Comments

Is basically say F*%K your neighborhood and it's valid concerns.

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1) Spell his name correctly at least if you're going to comment
2) Roslindale voted overwhelmingly for the candidate that supported the school in this location and rejected the candidate who did not support it. So your assertion is incorrect on its face. The voters have spoken on this issue.

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Don’t forget to mention the low voter turnout your statement is based on.

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No, no. there was no candidate which opposed it. the incumbent did not run.

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There's actually no data that the majority of OUR neighborhood is against this.

Pete is one of the few non-anon on here who has stated his opposition to the school but that's based on traffic concerns for his commute, which is both terrible reasoning and admirably honest.

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I learned from the Centre Street idiocy that local curmudgeons have adopted this conservative media strategy. Keep referring to the “anti” group as “the locals”, “the neighborhood”, etc. It’s all about creating a perception that outside actors are pushing something on the people that live here. The fact many people living there support the project is an inconvenient truth. Election results? Doesn’t fit their agenda, must be fake. If there No crowd was so much bigger than the Yes crowd, it stands to reason the No candidate would’ve won the election.

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Your argument is just as much based on conjecture as anything else. “Local curmudgeons?” Those are your neighbors who have lived here for decades. Have some respect.

If you had done any research, you’d know that voter turnout was low across the city in the last election. Arroyo could have won by familiar name recognition as easily as he could have by “Yes, he wants that crappy private charter school built that will take vital funding away from BPS! I can’t wait for four more years of Donald Trump and Betsy DeVoss!”

Out of curiosity, do you have kids in this school or who will be attending this school?

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Yes, people that reject everything out of concern for nobody but themselves are curmudgeons. I’m not concerned with how long anyone has lived anywhere. It isn’t a badge of honor to never leave your neighborhood. I’ve lived here for over a decade, I’m not going anywhere, and I care to see it improve.
I’m not pro charter school, in fact I’m generally against them. I opposed charter expansion. My kids attend BPS and will never set foot in a charter school. However, Roxbury prep already exists, it’s successful and not closing. It serves Boston kids and they deserve a quality building. I’d much rather see a school and the vibrancy it brings to my neighborhood than a body shop.
Your low turnout argument is self defeating, think about it. With low turnout overall, and so many people opposed to this project, they’d certainly have overpowered the low Arroyo turnout. Makes sense, right? Or are you saying people that have lived here for decades don’t even need to come out and vote for their representation? Sorry, that’s how representative democracy works. And it works. If these masses of people opposed really existed they’d have come out and made sure they voted in Maria. But they don’t exist in meaningful numbers. You’re a small group of curmudgeons that come out to meetings to scowl and act entitled.

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Is there data showing support?

I have no problem with the school going there, but I don’t like the spin on all sides.

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which is exactly why zoning and development in the city is so dumb.

There's what, 20-25k adults living in Roslindale? Assuming this is mostly relevant to those of us who live north of Washington and west of Corinth/Roberts, let's assume it's 5-10K people living in the greater Belgrade to Roche Bros part of the city here. A community meeting where what, 20-50 people turned out and some street signs were put up are supposed to decide this for all of us? Terrible concept.

Make a proposal, get some feedback, talk to urban planners who review it and decide to proceed or not. The end.

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I live nearby and support this project. There are a lot of us. We don’t show up to the hearings because we have kids and jobs.

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We can't/shouldn't operate like China where a new building can be put up in a month and government rides roughshod over property owners, neighbors and other stakeholders but it's absurd how this stuff gets dragged out here.

Roxbury Prep would benefit from knowing now if this was a possibility or not so they can get on with their plans. If the BPDA doesn't approve, fine. Nothing is going to significantly change with the proposal, the traffic and transportation concerns won't be any different in a year's time, etc...

It's a good spot for a school - if this gets blocked, I would hope BPS figures out how to build a new K-6 school on the site and then replaces the Bates, Mozart or Summer with a new building, offset by selling the old, unused one. That one would have more white kids so would probably sail though.

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According to DESE website their current enrollment per grade is:

5th - 228 Kids
6th - 251
7th - 234
8th - 231
9th - 253
10th - 161

Plan calls for 562 seats sccording to Arroyo's letters.

how are all these going to fit in one school?

http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/profiles/student.aspx?orgtypecode=5&fycode=...

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PS you left off the enrollment numbers for 11th and 12th grades: 111 and 99, respectively.

The total current enrollment for grades 9-12 is 624.

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Your data is old. That site would serve 9-12, these kids live in Boston and have every right to go to school there. There is not much said to the community when they go to BLA and BLS and cause tons of traffic.

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Roxbury Prep’s original application to BESE requested an 800 seat high school. When that was approved, almost immediately they followed up with an addendum asking for an increase to 1,200 school seats. In the addendum Roxbury Prep's stated, "we want a big high school for the financial sustainability." They stated that 1,200 students were required to finance all the courses they need to meet the conditions of their charter application and thought about the financial issues "very deeply." So, even thought Roxbury Prep has reduced the size of the school to get their foot in the door, it would seem that 1,200 students at this location is Roxbury Prep's ultimate goal.

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Would like to see a school where their kids can go. Most local kids in that area would not be able to go to Roxbury Prep because they only take students who have gone to Roxbury Prep’s elementary/middle schools and most parents don’t like putting their little kids on a bus halfway across the city to go to school.

I am wondering how Roxbury Prep High will choose who goes to the high school since there will be less seats at the high school than there are kids in its middle schools.

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What is to prevent local kids from trying for the spots in the elementary school run by Roxbury Prep?

That argument is a red herring, and just be grateful that is the only color I am mentioning.

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Residents in the area are already very well served by the Bates, Conley, Summer, Mozart, Kilmer, Ohrenberger and Holy Name.

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There's no obligation to have gone to their elementary schools to apply for the high school. The schools "accept[s] applications from students entering grades 5 to 9. There is no interview process, and all students who are residents of Boston, including students with IEPs and English Language Learners, are encouraged to apply." Further, they accept other students as part of their supplemental lottery. (That is, to fill in empty spot if a student leaves.) Website is here: https://roxburyprep.uncommonschools.org/enroll/

Generally, in Boston, there are big shifts at 7th and 9th grades, as the elementary and middle schoolers transition to high school.

There are a number of quality elementary schools in Roslindale and West Roxbury, but no traditional public high schools and only one charter high school (I think it's just the Brooke).

The neighborhoods would be well served by another option at the high school level.

Traditional public school map here: https://www.bostonpublicschools.org/site/handlers/filedownload.ashx?modu...

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"Students from Roxbury Prep’s middle schools (5-8) have the opportunity to attend Roxbury Prep High School for grades 9 to 12."

So if a student enters in grade 5, he/she can expect to go to the school through grade 12, right? According to RP, there are 248 students in each grade 5-8. That is 992 students in the 4 grades. If RP goes into the Belgrade site, it said the total enrollment will be 562 for grades 9-12. What happens to the other 430 students? Do they take all 248 from 8th grade into 9th grade and hope a lot leave as they progress into 10th and beyond or do they only take a little over half the 8th graders into 9th (hoping they will stay through 12th grade) and tell the rest they have to find somewhere else to go for high school? Either way, it doesn't seem there would be a lot of openings in RP's 9th grade for anyone not already enrolled in RP.

"When a student in the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th or 9th grades stops attending Roxbury Prep for any reason, the school shall fill vacant seats with the next available student on the waiting list up to February 15th. If the vacancy is not filled during the school year, the vacancy will be moved into the next grade to be filled at the beginning of the following school year, unless that vacancy occurs in 9th grade. Vacancies in grades 10, 11 and 12 will not be filled. "

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Thank you, Councilor Arroyo. This is leadership.

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That's not leadership,That's politics. Leadership would take into account the many concerns of both parties. I can only hope he's an ethical improvement over his sib and father.

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That could be the most comically wrong statement I’ve ever seen in writing. Yes, taking all opinions into account is requisite for leadership by a politician. But anyone can do that without leading. The leadership starts when you consider all points then make a decision you believe is best for your constituents, make it public, put your name on it, and explain your reasoning to those who disagree. Seems like what he’s doing here.
A councilor has thousands of constituents that will never all agree. Your picture of leadership is fence sitting until everyone agrees?
This is the kind of stuff I’m writing down for someday when I tell my kids what kind of people used to live around here. Classic.

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Leadership to the “Joe Rozzie” crowd means NIMBYing this thing to death until the school gives up. Nothing more. The easy decision for an elected official is to go along with that. Credit to Arroyo for bucking the trend.

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thank god. make people make a decision either way and be held accountable for it. dragging this shit out as a cover is pathetic.

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is another charter school draining funds from the BPS

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The school would not increase the number of students in the Roxbury Prep system. It would replace buildings the school is now renting (one of them the old Most Precious Blood school in Hyde Park).

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Please demonstrate how charter schools drain money from BPS.

BPS gets 34% +/- about 1% of the total budget for time immemorial. charters are the best thing to happen to BPS. Hundreds of kids leave the system every year, the school budget goes up in line with the overall budget and the budget per student skyrockets even faster than that.

Fakest of fake news.

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are dumped back into the BPS, where advocates point to how their needs aren't addressed. Charter school pats self on back.

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Roxbury Prep advertises high success rates among a ~100% Black and Latinx student body. But what they do not mention is that they (and public charters in general) severely underserve students with disabilities (physical, learning, etc.) as well as ESL students. This usually happens because they have few/no staff trained to address those students' needs, which are obviously higher than the typical student.

Even when completely disregarding neighborhood, traffic concerns and so forth, in today's age of inclusion, equity and so forth, Roxbury Prep should not be allowed to build unless they pledge to integrating more of these underserved student groups into their student body consistently and over an extended period of time. This is particularly true given the recent closure of the WREC, which had a very high rate of students with disabilities (and this would be also be a response to the argument that Roxbury Prep is needed b/c there are no other HS facilities in the surrounding area).

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That is one of my main issues w/ these types of charters. They DO NOT educate all children and their terrible expulsion rates prove that. Of course you have great test scores when you can easily kick out anyone that doesn't walk the line (or can't b/c of disabilities / mental health issues / home issues). I want my tax $ to educate all kids; even the kids that need more time and attention.

Put a real BPS there and I would be fine with it...but I also know that others wouldn't want a school there at all. It's a complicated issue but the pro-RP race baiting is so tired. Are there racists that don't want a school that doesn't look like CM here? Of course but everyone opposed to it isn't a racist.

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Public charter schools by law cannot select who they admit. If there are more applicants than seats (which there always is) they must hold a lottery. The only preference they can provide is for students who reside in the city the school is in.

Additionally, public charter schools serve a slightly higher percentage than public schools of high-needs students, defined by the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education as those who are low income, economically disadvantaged, ELL, former ELL or a student with disabilities.

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The BPS district serves significantly more ELLs, and more students with disabilities, than Roxbury Prep. Both serve the same proportion of low income/economically disadvantaged/non-native English speakers -- not more, not less.

If Roxbury Prep was truly welcoming to ELLs (ie. had the resources to properly educate them), they would not be so severely underrepresented. All of the ELLs in BPS are Boston residents by definition, so they have an equal likelihood of getting a spot via lottery. There must be something discouraging ELLs from enrolling.

On a related note, public charters have high drop-out rates: compare BPS and Roxbury Prep. Guess where these drop-outs go? Most go into BPS. This process, which involves very strict discipline (and perhaps a lack of support for ELL/disabled students), leads to high success rates to those who stick with it, but simultaneously burdens the public schools with those who need extra motivation.

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Public schools are obligated to serve students with learning disabilities because they are public schools funded with taxpayer dollars. Roxbury Prep can kick out or exclude whoever they want, as can any private school, if they decide that the student isn’t able to keep up with their “challenging curriculum.”

Unrelated to post but important to mention: Roxbury Prep owns two acres of land near a playground and a ball field in Roxbury. You can look this up on the City of Boston land owner’s registry. They bought it in 2018. They want to consolidate spaces but build an elementary and middle school one place and the high school a few miles away? That’s not consolidating. That’s empire building.

That’s why I don’t believe that this is truly about bettering the education of children. This is about the enrichment of real estate developers and private investors in the school.

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State law would forbid them from profiting due to their relationship with the school or sharing in any gains on real estate.

And you ignore the phenomenal job this group has done with these kids for many years now.

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"State Law would forbid" WHO? "from profiting due to their relationship with the school..."

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Other than some under the table deal to inflate construction, lease or sales prices (which would come with a separate set if problems), nobody can personally profit from participation in a not for profit organization.

There are other states where people can play these games. Not in Mass. At least not legally.

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But that is the point...Roxbury Prep Belgrade Ave, LLC, is the Proponent - not the School and is a FOR PROFIT organization.

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Well, it’s a good thing that Roxbury Prep is a PRIVATE SCHOOL.

Why are so many of you willing to die on a hill for a private charter school that only serves to benefit Betsy DeVoss types?

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Holy cow, you don't seem to understand anything about charter schools in MA and must just blindly swallow whatever garbage the Diane Ravitchs of the world spoon feed you.

MA charter schools don't/can't benefit out of state interests. Sure, that is an issue in other states, but not here.

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What’s a Diane Ravitch?

Okay, boomer. Uncommon Schools wasn’t a nonprofit organization until recently. Again, why are you dying on a hill for charter schools without doing *your* independent research?

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It is NOT a private school. It is a public charter. Are you confusing Roxbury Prep with Roxbury Latin?

Public charter schools cannot expel ELL's or special education students. They are heavily regulated schools and if they were inadequately serving this population of students the DOE would shut them down. Facts are publicly available--look them up.

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Roxbury Prep shouldn't be able to accept a lower percentage of students with learning disabilities and ESL students than, say, BLS.

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They shouldn't...they can't...and they don't! They accept the winners of the lottery as they are required to do.

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...public and charter schools growing up and the charter school didn't accomodate ESL any less than regular public schools. Each have a few designated teachers. In fact, the charter school I attended had designated ESL classrooms whereas the public schools simply put ESL students in seperate rooms during MCAS and other tests and study hall electives. As a former resident of the area and Bates alumni, I think the high school in the area is great. Especially with Westie shut down. I believe the traffic concerns are a farce. I drive through the area daily and doubt it will change much

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As an ESL teacher in public schools: nope.

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Nope to? I have been out of school for a long time so maybe it's different now. I was blessed to have a great public education in Boston

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When a High Severity disabled student wins a charter lottery seat, the charter school will reconvene the IEP meeting within 2 days, with all stakeholders including the sending school district. The charter school recommends a "private placement" which would come out of the sending district's budget. The sending district doesn't want to pay for private placement, so they say "No" we offer that program." If the meeting is on Wednesday, the SPED/SWD kid will find themselves back in BPS by Friday! DESE allows charter schools to do this by Massachusetts Charter School Law.

Also, if a charter school has SPED/SWD or ELL students they are required to provide certified Special Education and ELL teachers. That's why upon enrollment in a charter school, they try to get parents to sign off on removing the SPED/SWD and ELL designation, then they don't have to provide a certified teacher, it's just that simple.

Many people outside the school system don’t understand what is going on in urban schools. Many suburban schools and towns send their high severity disabled students outside to private placements or collaboratives. That students test scores don’t effect the sending school or district's test scores. In Boston, and other large urban cities, we educate students with moderate and high severity disabilities in programs, in-house, in traditional school buildings. Which saves "the taxpayer" millions in private placements and transportation.

Charter School Responsibilities for Students with Disabilities Who May Need an Out-of-District Program - 603 CMR 28.10(6)

http://www.doe.mass.edu/sped/advisories/2014-5ta.html

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to understand if I live in an urban area or the suburbs. Or furthermore, Do people in this area sleep, eat, work and entertain themselves on the streets 24hrs? because it seems that always i read the inconvenience of traffic. The school days are 180 days or less and when they are closed in winter because of the snow, we all get to enjoy the inconvenience of traffic. Build it pronto.

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First - it's a bit unfair to write "Arroyo replaced Tim McCarthy." Makes it sound like Arroyo beat McCarthy. McCarthy did not run.

Secondly - it is not the School - Roxbury Prep which has submitted the proposal. UnCommon Schools, Inc., the management organization which now runs the School, owns a company called Roxbury Prep Belgrade Ave, LLC, which is a real estate company. It is that company which has submitted the proposal and NOT THE SCHOOL.

Finally - Why do politicians get to interfere in the processing of projects? The BPDA hasn't completed their Article 80 process, so we hear.

Especially, when supporters of the project: the senior director of facilities, who submitted the proposal, Trustees of the School and other "C" level UnCommon Schools employees also "supported" the Councilor.

Check for yourself:https://www.ocpf.us/Filers/?q=17105#

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Finally - Why do politicians get to interfere in the processing of projects? The BPDA hasn't completed their Article 80 process, so we hear.

Says the opposition group that has demanded fealty from every local politician to their NIMBY position on this. Give it a rest.

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That’s what public servants are supposed to do for their constituents: represent them as someone so kindly mansplained to me above about how a voting representative democracy works.

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I would like someone to propose a more suitable location, just one...All other locations Condos/Apartments have been built in order for people who work in the city can have an easier commute. People that are able to live just outside the city their chosing the ideal places; Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, and West Roxbury. A charter school goes up the neighborhood doesn't benefit financially. Housing goes up and they get more people in the neighborhood spending money...

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