School move fight continues

December 16, 2011
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Boston Public Schools’ (BPS) plan to move the Mission Hill K-8 School to the former Agassiz School building at 20 Child St. was approved by the school committee Nov. 15. But opposition remains strong among parents, advocates and Mission Hill residents.

Some advocates say that the K-8 move would mean further limiting access to elementary school seats for students from four major housing developments in the area—Jamaica Plain’s Bromley Heath and the Alice Taylor, Mission Main and Mission Park housing developments.

Losing a local elementary school means fewer options for local families, particularly low-income families, said Sara Montoya, head of the Parker Hill/Fenway branch of Action for Boston Community Development, which runs a Head Start pre-kindergarten program.

“I think it is definitely going to affect our families. The area’s kindergarten classes are completely full,” she said.

“A lot of our families don’t drive, so you are looking at less parent engagement with the schools” if the schools their children are attending are further away, she said.

“I tried to get my daughter into the Mission Hill School or the Tobin,” Mission Hill’s other K-8 school, Mirna Mejia, a Parker Hill/Fenway ABCD staffer and Hill resident, told the Gazette, “But she is attending kindergarten in Hyde Park.”

“There are not enough options around here to begin with, and we are losing more options,” she said.

In an email, Wilder told the Gazette, “There are many options within the [Mission Hill] walk-zone, beyond the Mission Hill K-8 and the Tobin. Their options far outnumber those of a student living near the Agassiz building”—the former home of the Agassiz school at 20 Child St in JP, where Mission Hill K-8 is slated to move.

But City Councilor Matt O’Malley told the Gazette he is skeptical that the Mission Hill school’s move to JP will mean more seats for current JP students. The only seats that are being added to the school are pre-kindergarten seats, so for local students who left the Agassiz when it closed last year, “there is not opportunity to go back to the building,” he said.

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