BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — By a slim margin, the Boston City Council voted on Wednesday to let voters elect the Boston School Committee. It will be an uphill climb to make that home rule petition reality, as both Mayor Michelle Wu and the state legislature need to approve the measure before it becomes law.
The council voted 7-5-1 to approve the petition. The proposal would gradually introduce a rising number of elected members between 2024 and 2028, ending with a 13-member committee with 9 district members, 3 at-large members, and one student member elected by the Boston Public Schools student body.
The petition says that an elected community would bring better representation to the committee, "allowing for people from diverse backgrounds to have their voices heard and for those in power to be held accountable."
Councilor Julia Mejia, who co-sponsored the resolution, said Wednesday's vote was a positive step forward. She responded to claims that the resolution would politicize the committee.
"In the city of Boston, everything is political. I think we have an opportunity to give the power back to the people," she said.
Councilor Frank Baker is opposed to the measure. He said Boston schools have had enough instability and changing leadership in recent years, and years of elections will make that worse.
"The schools are so disrupted now, they've had three superintendents in the last four years...The mayor still needs to control this," he said.
Mayor Wu has been opposed to the idea of giving up the power to appoint the committee. The school committee was an elected body until 1991, when a city referendum switched it to appointment by the mayor.
WBZ's Mike Macklin (@mikemacklinwbz) was at City Hall: