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Is Elementary School Out Forever in Back Bay and Beacon Hill?

Beacon Hill and Back Bay have no neighborhood elementary schools. Does it matter?

[I]magine you live in a large condo building in the middle of the very residential part of Back Bay, 330 Beacon Street. The BPS matchmaking web tool says the closest schools are Quincy (in Chinatown), and Hurley (in the South End), both 0.96 miles away. Maybe you should dig out your pedometer, because Google Maps measures the distance as 1.2 miles. Since these are highly sought-after schools and just half of the seats at any school are reserved for students inside the walk zone, many who apply will not get in. “When you consider that the two schools in [our] walk zone are in Chinatown and the North End, it’s not likely that any eight-year-old is going to walk that distance alone, says Colin Zick, a Beacon Hill parent. “That’s what a meaningful ‘walk zone’ is to me.”

Elementary schools are within a resident's walk zone, per the city's system of allotting school assignments, if they are no more than 1 mile away.

What's to be done for the approximately 700 elementary school-aged children in Beacon Hill and Back Bay (and their parents)? A 2002 plan by local parents to buy a Beacon Hill building for a new elementary and middle school collapsed amid city skittishness over future costs. And, though Mayor Menino has pledged to create "a radically different student assignment plan–one that puts a priority on children attending schools closer to their homes." That plan, whatever it is, is supposed to take effect this year. Meanwhile, community meetings start next month on school assignments. No meetings for Beacon Hill or Back Bay have been announced.

· For Downtown Families, No School at All [Patch]

330 Beacon Street

330 Beacon Street, Boston, MA