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Should Boston's School Committee Be a Hybrid of Mayoral Appointments and Elected Members?

Boston City Councilor Frank Baker is looking to change the board's makeup.

Boston School Committee members are chosen by mayoral appointments, but District 3 City Councilor Frank Baker would like the board to be a hybrid of elected officials and mayoral appointments.

“I believe our schools are the most important issue in our city. If we have strong schools, we will have a vibrant and successful city,” Baker said. “The School Committee serves an important role in the decision making structure of the Boston Public Schools and should be accountable and responsive to the citizens of Boston, not solely to the mayor and his administration.” 

Baker has filed a home rule petition to reorganize Boston School Committee into a hybrid model of both elected and appointed members.

Boston did previously have an elected school committee, but in 1991, Mayor Ray Flynn and the City Council amended the City Charter to make the school committee appointed by the mayor.

There are currently seven school committee members. Prior to that there were 13 members elected by Boston residents, with nine being district-based and the other four at-large, similar to the city council's structure. The school committee members serve alternating two-year terms.

In 1996, Boston residents voted on maintaining the appointed committee or return to an elected committee. Voters overwhelmingly supported an elected school committee 94,200 to 41,070.

“I understand that when the school committee was all elected, there were some problems,” Baker said via his Facebook page. “However, the campaign to move toward an all appointed model took the actions and accountability of the school committee out of the hands of the people. There needs to be some balance. Having both elected and appointed members on the committee strikes this balance and allows the residents of Boston to have direct input through their elected representation.”

Baker said he'd like the school committee to consist of seven members, with four being mayoral appointments and the other three being at-large elected officials during the regular municipal election.

What do you think? Should Boston School Committee be a hybrid structure of elected and mayoral appointments? Leave your comments below.

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