A lesson on Boston Public School’s new facilities plan

The new plan proposes closing many existing schools in favor or bolstering enrollment and student offerings at larger facilities.

Mayor Wu stands in front of a podium outside a grey and brown brick building that reads "Boston Arts Academy, Dr. Elma I. Lewis Building," while a crowd is seated in front of her.

Boston Arts Academy is the city’s only high school for visual and performing arts.

Photo by @photowilcox for the City of Boston

A new long-term facilities plan from Boston Public Schools could increase enrollment + student offerings by lowering the number of active public schools. The 80-page document, which was submitted to the state last week, details how the school system can “keep its commitment to preparing young people for success.” Here’s what we know so far:

With 119 school buildings currently in use, the plan suggests that the city could maintain larger — but fewer — schools to bolster course and extracurricular offerings + prevent under-enrollment. Through this model, these larger schools could offer specialty classrooms for art, music, and special education, as well as improved gyms, libraries, and cafeterias.

The high amount of potential facility closures signifies a number of concerns within the school system — namely, a continuous dip in district enrollment, which has decreased by over 13% since 2006.

Many schools in the district have fewer than 250 students; in contrast, the new plan outlines potential school sizes between ~350 and ~1,600 students. Other suggestions from the plan include maintaining 40-80 elementary schools + early learning centers, as well as 19-24 secondary schools for grades 7-12.

No schools are mentioned by name for closures, merges, or reconstruction, and the report does not offer any proposals for long-term enrollment or budgeting.

The city’s School Committee will vote on all education-related proposals this spring.