Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is expected to talk about how public schools can thrive in the city during his 2016 State of the City Address on Tuesday night. But a coalition of families, students, educators, community members and groups will be outside before Walsh's address protesting forecasted school budget shortfalls.
The protest will start at 4:30 pm at the intersection of Westland and Massachusetts avenues under a BSO sign. To follow the protest on social media search for the hashtag #SOTCProtest. Information about the protest was posted on the BPS Education Odyssey website.
The organizers wrote they are "demanding that Mayor Walsh, at a minimum, do the following:"
Join in solidarity with Boston’s students, families and community members to aggressively advocate for our Boston Public Schools at state and federal levels;
Through strategic planning and ambitious revitalization, reduce the BPS budget shortfalls of $50 million this year and $140 million over the last three years;
Invest in fully-resourced community public schools with wraparound services for Boston's children;
Work with the true stakeholders of Boston Public Schools: students, families, educators and community members to fully audit BPS’ budget in order to assess community needs and address inequalities; and,
Collaborating with the true stakeholders, demand democratically controlled public schools through an elected Boston School Committee.
This year’s Boston Public Schools' budget is estimated to be $1.027 billion, which would be a $13.5 million increase compared to last year's and is the city’s largest-ever budget for the School Department. But that would still be a budget shortfall of around $50 million when calculating expenses have increased while federal and state funding have decreased.
One of the organizers of the protest, Mary Lewis-Pierce, a Jamaica Plain resident, told the Globe that due to budget cuts her daughter's school has lost a pair of teachers the past two years and a Spanish teacher three years ago. Her daughter attends the Boston Teachers Union School, and she added that parents had to raise $40,000 to pay for the school's lone sport coach due to financial issues.