Boston Mayor Thomas Menino this morning delivered one of the best speeches of his political career, and it brought the crowd of several hundred at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast to their feet in an enthusiastic ovation. In it, he laid out a compelling vision for a comprehensive overhaul of the Boston Public Schools. In the process, he said things that have needed to be said for a long time.
He strongly backed Superintendent Carol Johnson’s plan to close a $60 million budget gap and simultaneously improve the quality of education. There are 5600 empty seats in the city. The Boston School Committee tomorrow night will vote on Johnson’s proposal to close nine schools and merge eight into four, saving an estimated $20 million a year. But this isn’t just about bricks and mortar.