Superintendent Holds Stance on Ending Funding for Medford to Minuteman Bus

Belson accused Minuteman Regional High School of aggressively recruiting students in order to pay for a building renovations.

Medford schools are going to continue their stand against paying bus fees for students attending Minuteman Regional High School in Lexington, according to Superintendent Roy Belson.

Belson addressed the subject before the city council Tuesday, as they considered the school department budget. There have been discussions with state and school officials, but nothing has changed since the matter was last touched upon publicly, he said.

"I can’t give anyone any assurances of anything except there are discussions going on," Belson said.

The Medford 2013 school budget includes cutting the bus from Medford to Minuteman, located in Lexington, and replacing it with MBTA passes for students. Belson had previously said the regional school had been raising its rates at an "astonishing" clip, and that the school bus cut was part of negotiations over the state's formula for determining student fees for regional vocational schools.

On Tuesday, Belson also accused the regional high school of aggressively recruiting students in Medford and other communities outside of the schools member cities and towns so it can pay for planned new facilities.

“Clearly they’ve gone out of their way to recruit to pay those things,” Belson said Tuesday. “The region won’t support it.”

Minuteman has 648 students, and 43 percent of them are from out of its member area, according to a May article in the Boston Globe.

The Medford School Department has $1 million allocated for regional vocational school tuitions in 2013. It is also up to Medford schools to decide what transportation to provide to the Medford residents attending Minuteman. For many students, taking public transportation would require them to take two buses and a train, and could take upwards of 90 minutes.

City Councilor Michael Marks suggested the city come to an agreement with nearby communities to offer a joint bus service that would cut costs.

"I think something needs to take place now as a fall back plan," Marks said.

But Belson said he wanted to stand firm against paying the fees for busing.

"We need to finish the intelligent discussions we’re having among the parties," Belson said.

City Councilor Robert Penta supported Belson's plan.

"If stick your head in sand, nothing’s going to change around here," he said.

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elaine low June 29, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Again shifting blame on Minuteman for Medfords failure to provide excellence in education. If Medford High School had the reputation that Minuteman has this would be a nonissue. We wouldn't need to look beyond our own city to properly educate our kids. Compare the the standing of Meford High School as opposed to Minuteman High School and the differences are clear. We need to address the bus situation only because the bigger issue is being ignored. Mr. Belson, this is an inhouse problem, not Minuteman's- if you refuse to address Medford High Schools failures- you are only delaying further issues. Taking this grand stand against paying for busing helps no one and is only an attempt to pretend to address a problem. The real problem is that Medford High School cannot compete with Minuteman- What can you do to fix that?
Terry Regan June 29, 2012 at 07:43 PM
I am a teacher at Minuteman. It is my understanding that funding for the capital improvements for Minuteman is provided only by the in-district towns and that funding for capital improvements cannot be taken from the out-of-district student tuitions. Therefore, I believe that Mr. Belson's claim that Minuteman is "aggressively recruiting students in Medford and other communities outside of the schools member cities and towns so it can pay for planned new facilities." is false, and he is using the facilities argument to inflame local opinion against Minuteman. I have had several excellent Medford students in my CTE program, and know several more from other CTE programs at Minuteman. My experience has been that Minuteman is getting more and more students from cities like Medford due to word-of-mouth advertising from the Medford students who attend Minuteman.
Gearoidin Ni Bhrian August 06, 2012 at 03:06 PM
I totally agree with, Terry Regan, Minuteman Teacher. Minuteman is not "aggressively recruiting students from Medford" according to Mr. Belson. I, as a parent of one Graduate of Minuteman and one who currently attends Minuteman disagree totally with, Mr. Belson's remarks! Word of mouth is a positive way of advertising and this has been going on for many years and has proven to be a way of success in all areas of life! Mr. Belson - I am sure back in the day that you were recommended by "Word of Mouth" to Medford High School!!!!


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