Could Charlestown High become Boston’s New Downtown High School?

By John Lynds

During his speech last week at his annual Charlestown fundraiser, City Councilor Sal LaMattina said he is working towards making Charlestown High School Boston’s downtown high school.

“We will spend $110 million next year in school transportation costs,” said LaMattina. “A portion of that money is spent every year to bus students from other parts of the city, as far away as Mattapan, to Charlestown High School.”

LaMattina pointed to the fact more Charlestown students attend East Boston High School then the high school in their own neighborhood. This coupled with a growing downtown population with kids means there is a desperate need for a downtown high school close by.

“Parents in my district, parents in neighborhoods like Charlestown, the North End, Beacon Hill, have been asking for years, “When are we going to get a high school?”,” said LaMattina. “I think there is an opportunity here to make Charlestown High School the school parents in the area need. Look, the downtown neighborhoods are growing and this means in the coming years there are going to be a lot of kids in need for a high school close by.”

LaMattina said Charlestown High School in a good facility with a nice pool and a good outdoor field–making it a perfect high school for the downtown population.

“What we are seeing in Boston in neighborhoods like Charlestown, the North End and downtown is that if students don’t get into one of the exams schools they either move out of the city or find private education,” said LaMattina. “And these are families that are already sending their children to Boston Public Schools like the Harvard/Kent or the Eliot School in the North End but there is attrition once they become high schoolers.”

As for eliminating a huge cost from the school budget, LaMattina said it is a no brainer, especially with BPS facing a budget deficit.

“At $110 million, up from $90 million last year, this is the most we’ve spent on transportation,” said LaMattina. “While we will still have to incur some transportation costs imagine if tens of millions of dollars a year went back into all out schools to make all Boston Public Schools great schools? That’s what we should be focusing on. I think the money can be spent better at schools across the city.”

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