Don’t blame teachers union — extended day held up by transit issues

Re “The charter school bargain”: For the past 18 months, I’ve served as a parent representative on Boston Public Schools’ joint task force on extended learning time, the group responsible for overseeing the rollout of the extended-day agreement. The agreement was easily ratified, 4 to 1, by the Boston Teachers Union in January 2015. Its implementation is stalled because of the exorbitant costs of changing the complicated bus schedule.

Boston Commonwealth charters are given first dibs on bell times — an advantage that’s not available for BPS schools that largely must comply with a 7:30, 8:30, or 9:30 start time. BPS has been forced to restructure transportation to move forward with the extended-day plan because the cost of extending the day as is would add millions of dollars to the budget.

Delays of the rollout have never been related to the Boston Teachers Union. Its members have enthusiastically embraced an extended day. When I ask my daughters’ teachers what they need to do their job better, they almost always say: TIME.

Furthermore, charter proponents cannot continually shout that they’re doing more with less while disregarding that BPS shoulders their $15 million transportation bill. It’s like stealing our lunch money and then bragging about it.

Kristin Johnson
Jamaica Plain

The writer is a Citywide Parent Council representative for the Ellis Mendell School.