Boston Elected Officials Decry State Receivership Possibility

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BOSTON (State House News Service) — A steady stream of state and local elected officials demanded Tuesday that the Baker administration keep receivership of Boston Public Schools off the table, instead calling for Mayor Michelle Wu and a still-unnamed new superintendent to get a "chance at bat" to address persistent problems in the district.

One day after the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education published a searing report about failures at BPS, Wu joined with senators, representatives and city councilors who represent Boston to demand the district remain under local control.

The Baker administration has not indicated what next steps it will take after the latest report, which determined many issues flagged in a previous probe have remained or worsened. But the specter of full state receivership has sparked intense debate.

"We have new leadership in our mayor, and we'll soon have a new superintendent as you heard the mayor chronicle. They deserve a chance at bat," Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, a Boston Democrat, told the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on Tuesday. "The parents and guardians of Boston's children, including this BPS parent, gave a mandate to the mayor to take on this responsibility. I ask this board to support our mayor and our incoming superintendent in this mighty and urgent task."

Supporters of a state takeover argue the district's central office has had too much leadership turnover to oversee the necessary changes.

Sen. Lydia Edwards of East Boston, who joined Chang-Díaz in opposing the idea of receivership, said the impending change in the corner office should also factor into decisions about state involvement in the largest public school district in Massachusetts.

Gov. Charlie Baker is not seeking reelection, and a new governor -- potentially Chang-Díaz, who is one of two Democrats in the race -- will take office in January.

"Why would you also put this on the new governor's plate as well?" Edwards, a former Boston city councilor, said. "With all the newness that's coming in, we should be hopeful, we should be excited, we should be thinking of all the great things we can do and acknowledging the things we need to compensate for, the things we need to correct. There's no way you can do that by starting this conversation mid-sentence and then handing it off to new administrations to deal with."

Written by Chris Lisinski/SHNS

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