Amid a Wednesday meeting disrupted by a small group of anti-vaccination protesters, the Boston City Council voted to consider turning the city’s mayor-appointed school board into a publicly elected body.
Boston voters overwhelmingly expressed their preference for an elected school board in a nonbinding referendum in November.
For change to happen, it must go through the City Council, Mayor Michelle Wu, the Legislature and, ultimately, Governor Charlie Baker. The council must first pass a Bylaws petition asking the state legislature to approve the change, and in order for this petition to be forwarded to the legislature, Wu must sign it.
Councilor Ricardo Arroyo, a strong supporter of restoring voter control over schools, recognized the potential for conflict. While some councilors side with voters, Mayor Michelle Wu favors what’s called a “hybrid” model of elected and appointed members.
Arroyo, when reintroducing the self-governance petition to the Council, said: “I know there are members of this Council who want a fully elected body, there are people who want districts , there are people who don’t want districts, there are people who want I want a version of a hybrid My goal is, in the next two months, to hopefully have sessions of work and maybe another audience to make sure all those voices are heard.
The anti-vaccine protests were a baptism of fire for new Council President Ed Flynn, who tried to reason with the protesters by proposing a private meeting when the Council closed. When his efforts failed, Flynn ordered the advisers into a virtual session as security escorted the group of objectors out of the chamber.
As of Thursday, 86% of Massachusetts residents had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, status data show. Wu said Monday that 94% of city workers had gotten at least their first vaccine, ahead of a mandate for city workers that is expected to take effect after Jan. 30.