The Boston City Council approved the FY2020 proposal, which included the city’s largest school budget in history—$1.177 billion—on Wednesday, according to a release from the office of Martin J. Walsh, BC ’09.
Walsh’s $3.49 billion proposal was passed unanimously. The budget increased by $176 million from last year and focused on education, the transportation plan Go Boston 2030, housing, and public safety.
The education initiative will cover the costs of free pre-K for all children living in Boston, full-time nurses in every school, more licensed mental health professionals, and free Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) passes for students grades seven through 12.
Free menstrual products will also be available in all 77 schools that house seventh through 12th grade students. Brookline became the first town in the nation to require that pads and tampons be provided for free in all public buildings, not including schools. The town’s decision said that school districts would have to pass their own resolutions regarding requirements.
Creating bike corridors, expanding bikeshare infrastructure, creating new bus lanes, lowering speed limits and redesigning traffic, and creating more sidewalks will be the priorities for the funds allocated to the Go Boston 2030 project.
There is a 45 percent increase in the amount of funds being put toward housing, totaling $20.6 million. The City aims to create 69,000 new units of housing by 2030, as well as 50 units of permanent supportive housing each year, which is part of Boston’s plan to end homelessness, known as Boston’s Way Home. Preventing youth homelessness and connecting young people to resources for jobs and safe residences will be a priority, according to the release.
The Boston Police Department is anticipated to add 2,200 new officers to its force, specifically to an unsolved homicides division. Diversity recruitment efforts will be made for the police, fire, and emergency units, and the Body-Worn Camera program will be installed.
Funds were also allocated to projects designed to help the climate, including energy efficiency and new services for recycling and waste removal.
“These important investments are a reflection of our shared priorities,” Walsh said in his release. “Those who supported this budget, from creation to passage, played a critical role in increasing the funding that will allow us to deliver on the promise of expanding opportunity across the city, from new housing to school nurses, more pre-kindergarten seats for our young people and additional resources to look at unsolved homicides.
“Through this budget we are continuing to set Boston up for future success, moving forward with urgency on our long-term plans to address climate change, affordable housing, better transit, arts and schools.”
Photo Courtesy of Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons