What do you need if you are in the business of opening more and more charter seats in the Boston area? A school is more than the teachers and the students and books. Schools are buildings. If you are opening new schools you are inevitably going to want something made of brick and mortar.
But that’s not an easy problem. Regulations regarding school construction are complex and real estate is expensive. But what if there was a way to just take over existing school buildings? A turnkey solution would be a whole lot more manageable and would make the growth of your industry easier.
The New Schools Venture Fund is a nonprofit organization that raises philanthropic dollars (Gates and Walton Foundation) in order to scale entrepreneurial education ventures (charter schools).
They have invested 12 million dollars in Boston. The following screenshots are from the Boston Charter Replication Report.
In 2010, the Massachusetts Legislature raised the charter cap so that there are now 6,500 new charter seats in the Greater Boston area. This report projects that there will be 11,000 seats in 2020 but it does not say if that number is dependent on new legislation that further raises the cap.
This has presented a challenge to the industry because where can they put all of those seats?
Who has school buildings? Boston Public School does.
The venture fund contributed money to the Boston Compact that was then ratified by our unelected school committee in 2011 with the commitment to leasing underutilized Boston Public School buildings.
In December 2011, the unelected Boston School Committee issues 3 RFPs for school buildings.
Eventually, the Dickerman and the Lucy Stone schools were closed and their buildings given to Roxbury Prep Charter School. The Endicott was also closed and the building now houses the Bridge Boston Charter School.
The unelected Boston School Committee recommitted itself to the Boston Compact last month in the midst of the Unified Enrollment proposal.
This gets to the heart of why I am so alarmed by the Unified Enrollment and the Boston Compact. I do not believe that it is a compact that works in the best interest of the children of BPS because there is no one advocating for our interest. It is a means of identifying which schools will be closed so that the charter industry can continue it’s unfettered expansion by taking over our buildings.
Here is a link to the entire report.NewSchools-Boston-End-of-Fund-Report-2