Promising new Mattapan high school proposed by Yancey impresses these residents and supporters

Charles C. Yancey
Boston City Councillor
Contact: Kenneth Yarbrough – Chief Information Officer
(617) 635-3131 Fax (617) 635-3067 Page (617) 461-5548

For Release Wednesday, October 5, 2011

photo of Mattapan Square before new developments 2011
moving into Mattapan Square

Boston City Hall (October 5, 2011) – Nearly 100 Boston residents attended a Boston City Council public hearing on October 4, 2011 to support Councillor Charles C. Yancey’s $110,000,000 loan-order to build a brand new state-of-the-art high school in Boston.

Councillor Yancey urged his colleagues to acknowledge the shortage of high school seats in Boston and to not forget about the e 3,800 Boston Public High School students who are currently attending non-high school facilities.

According to the Boston School Department’s own figures, 3,861 high school students currently attend high school classes in buildings not originally designed for high schools. “It’s really unfair for nearly 4,000 Boston Public School students to attend classes in substandard learning facilities,” Councillor Yancey said.

[blogger’s insert] “The new Mattapan Community Health Center under construction as the “gateway to Mattapan” is great but I’ll bet its pharmacy won’t have a single holistic drug in it that Mattapan’s Caribbean community base will accept. People will not be attracted to a community just because it has a pharmaceutical filled medical clinic there, but high schools are loved. ” [/insert]

Dorothea Manuela, chairperson of the New Mission High School Governing Board, said that a state-of-the-art high school in Mattapan is more than overdue. “How disrespectful and disgusting to expect children to attend dilapidated buildings,” she said.

Councillor Yancey said Boston children must compete with children who are attending state-of-the-art facilities in other cities and towns. More than 50 high schools have been built in other Massachusetts municipalities since 1979, he noted. The addition of at least one new high school will help level the playing field.

Councillor Tito Jackson, who affirmed his support of the new high school, cautioned that global competition with nations that invest in their schools, such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China, should compel Boston to develop world class learning facilities with higher expectations.

Mattapan resident, Carol Mallory-Causey, said it’s not surprising the high school drop-out rate in Boston is so high. “How would you like to go to a school in a basement or without a cafeteria to eat? All those things that other children have, we should have too,” she said.

Vivien Morris, Chairperson of the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition, said the new high school would create a piece of heaven in Mattapan and encourage higher levels of education. “By denying that to Mattapan is a disservice to us,” she said.

Boston real estate agent, Meichelle Ferguson, said the number one reason people refuse to buy houses in Boston in because of Boston schools. She said the children of Mattapan, who have lost faith in the school system, should have a new high school. “It would really revive the whole spirit of our community,” she said.

Boston Police Officer, Patrice Bennett, who moved from Boston to ensure her children would receive a higher quality education, said building a state-of-the-art facility in Mattapan would bring some families back to the City of Boston. “Why aren’t we working harder to make it better?” she asked.

At-large City Councillor Felix Arroyo testified in favor of the new high school, during the hearing, which was public hearing that was chaired by Mark Ciommo, chair of the City Council’s Committee on Ways and Means.

Board member of the Codman Square Neighborhood Council and Ann Langone, a children’s librarian at the Boston Public Library, supported the new high school included.

Nearly 3,000 local residents signed a 2004 petition, urging the Boston City Council to take initiative in building the new high school on the twenty acres of land that had been designated by the City of Boston and the State of Massachusetts for the new high school.

Councillor Yancey first introduced the loan-order to build a high school in 1999, following a well-documented Blue Ribbon Commission report detailing the need for two new high schools in Boston. “It’s not a question of money. It’s a question of priorities,” he said. “The education of our children is critical.”