School Committee Chair says Charter Question Might be Addressed at Meeting

By Seth Daniel

The Boston School Committee might vote to oppose the charter school expansion question (Question 2) at one of its September meetings, according to Chair Michael O’Neill.

The Committee was slated to meet last night, Sept. 7, but results of that meeting came too late for publication. A Sept. 21 meeting is also scheduled.

Question 2 involves lifting the charter school cap, or maximum seats available, statewide and will look to the voters for approval or rejection on the November statewide ballot. Boston has an improving relationship with Charter Schools over the last several years, having signed the Charter Compact some years ago and also having a charter school parent formerly on the Committee in the recent past.

Like many other School Committees in the area, though, Boston looks to be concerned about the finances of the proposition.

Chair Michael O’Neill said the Committee will look to take a position on Question 2 at one of the September meetings.

Already, the Committee has called for an analysis of what approval of Question 2 might do to the Boston Public Schools financially over time.

“We will consider taking a position on the ballot question as a result of that analysis,” he said recently.

He said his particular problem is with the financing mechanism, which he said isn’t proposing to be changed if the question were approved.

“As a financial services person, this vote troubles me,” he said. “The proponents intentions don’t include a change to the funding mechanism…I respectful of the charter community in Boston. Charters were to be labs of innovation and trying new ideas. They weren’t to replace the public schools, but to try new ideas.”

In recent weeks, School Committees in the surrounding communities of Chelsea and Everett have taken positions opposing Question 2.

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