RadioBDC Logo
| Listen Live

Plan delayed to relocate 2 city schools

By Meghan E. Irons
Globe Staff / October 13, 2011

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

Text size +

School Superintendent Carol R. Johnson delayed presenting an update this week of her proposal to relocate two Boston schools, leaving anxious parents, students, and teachers in limbo for several more weeks.

Johnson, who has faced strong opposition since announcing her facilities plan this summer, had been expected to reveal her final recommendationslast night before the School Committee, including whether she would stick with moving Boston Latin Academy and Boston Arts Academy to different neighborhoods.

But some parents who had been eagerly awaiting word from Johnson were surprised to learn that would have to wait even longer, until at least Oct. 24, to hear her recommendations.

“I am disappointed,’’ said Marla Smith, a Roxbury parent whose daughter attends Boston Latin Academy. “We keep being asked to be patient, but we have been patient for more than three months.’’

Matthew Wilder, the superintendent’s spokesman, acknowledged that the facilities proposal was removed from the School Committee’s agenda Tuesday to allow Johnson to address school transportation issues. The department has been under fire lately after a string of delays in school bus service since the start of the academic year.

Wilder said that Johnson has been reading and assessing the swell of public response to her initial facilities plan, but that she and her team need more time to analyze what is best for the system.

“We are using that feedback to help shape a proposal that is about more than just Boston Latin Academy,’’ Wilder wrote in an e-mailed response to the Globe. “The superintendent is building a proposal that benefits many school communities and provides access to high-quality programs for many students in our city.’’

In July, Johnson proposed moving Latin Academy into the closed Hyde Park High School building to allow Boston Arts to move into the Latin Academy site. Boston Arts, which is sharing space with Fenway High School, needs a larger facility. And Johnson said her plan would allow the popular Fenway High to expand.

But parents, particularly those with children in Latin Academy, have assailed the plan, saying the Hyde Park building is too small to accommodate Latin Academy’s 1,700 students. They also contend that if moved from the school’s current site near the Dorchester-Roxbury line, Latin Academy students would lose a central location to transportation and easy access to the rest of the city.

Boston Arts parents have largely been silent.

Saying she was willing to “listen to the voices of the community,’’ Johnson said last month that she was reexamining her facilities proposal and indicated at that time she was not sure when she would have a final plan ready.

But parents said they have yet to hear from Johnson and her team during the past three months about what the final proposal would be. They said they had hoped that Johnson would have provided some clue last night on the direction they were heading.

“I had hoped that she would be telling us that they are not going to move [Latin Academy] because it doesn’t make any sense,’’ said Peter Low, who has two sons attending the exam school. “Whatever she ultimately decides nobody knows, because there has been no feedback. We were expecting to hear something, and we’ve heard nothing.’’

F. Pat Englert, who has a son at both Latin Academy and Boston Arts, is waiting to know which one of his two boys will have to trek to another location as early as next fall.

Englert said Anthony, 12, is happy at Latin Academy. But Englert had hoped for a bigger building for Sean, 15, who attends Boston Arts Academy.

“If they decide nothing, then Sean remains in a wonderful school that has woefully inadequately facilities,’’ Englert said.

Meghan Irons can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @meghanirons.