Boston city councilors are feeling pressure from some parents to reject the Boston Public Schools’ $975 million budget on Wednesday unless it includes yellow bus service for 4,500 middle-school students rather than a T pass. The councilors are in a tight spot. But they should muster up their courage and pass the budget. It’s not too much to expect 12- and 13-year-old urban students to make their way to and from school on public transit.
School superintendent John McDonough has argued convincingly that switching to the MBTA makes economic sense. A student pass costs just $225 for an entire school year, as opposed to $1,300 for a seat on a bus. The system stands to save about $8 million from the nearly $100 million in annual transportation costs that crush opportunities for an extended school day, updated technology, and similar classroom enhancements.
An MBTA pilot program for 1,800 Boston middle-schoolers has gone well. It’s time for both the students and the councilors to take the next step.