Description: Profile of Robert Spillane, superintendent of Boston Public Schools as he prepares to leave Boston for a post in Virginia. Vaillancourt reports on Spillane's accomplishments in improving the Boston Public School System and cutting the school budget deficit. Interview with Spillane where he compliments the teaching staff in the Boston Public Schools and talks about his opinion of Arthur Garrity. He says that Garrity's stewardship of the school system was a disaster. Interview with Peter McCormick, the President of the Bank of New England, about Spillane's good relationship with the business community. Vaillancourt speculates about whether Spillane will one day pursue a career in politics.
1:00:21: Visual: Footage of Robert Spillane (Superintendent, Boston Public Schools) speaking to an audience. Spillane says that the quality of every school must be improved in order for school desegregation to be considered a success. Meg Vaillancourt reports that Spillane took over as Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools four years ago; that Boston was undergoing school desegregation. V: Shot of a young African American boy watching an anti-busing march. White protesters chant, "Here we go, Southie." Shot of a police officer pushing an angry white man against a car. Vaillancourt reports that the quality of education was very low. Vaillancourt notes that school officials admitted that more than one-third of the graduates from Boston Public Schools could not read. V: Shots of students descending an elevator at English High School. Shot of an African American male student reading at a his desk; of two white male students sitting together in a classroom; of students in a classroom. Shots of a group of students sitting together in a study hall; of a teacher in the study hall. Vaillancourt reports that there were six superintendents during the first seven years of school desegregation in Boston. Vaillancourt reports that Spillane was committed to changing the schools in Boston. V: Shot of Spillane seating himself as he prepares to speak to an audience. The audience applauds. Vaillancourt reports that Spillane instituted the first changes to the school curriculum in fifteen years; that promotion standards were established; that students' test scores began to improve. V: Shot of two elementary school students seated in front of computers. A teacher looks over the shoulder of one of the students. Vaillancourt reports that Spillane shares credit for success with his staff. V: Footage of Spillane being interviewed. Spillane says that there is an excellent teaching staff in the Boston Public Schools. Spillane says that the rising levels of student achievement reflect the dedication of the teaching staff. Spillane says that he provided help and direction. Spillane says that he challenged the teachers by publishing the test scores of each school. Shots of Spillane in his office. Vaillancourt reports that Spillane is known as the "velvet hammer." V: Shot of a hammer with a velvet grip on display in Spillane's office. Vaillancourt reports that Spillane is credited with pushing Arthur Garrity (federal judge) aside; that Spillane allowed the Boston School Department to take charge of the schools once again. Vaillancourt notes that Garrity is slowly handing over his control of the Boston Public Schools. V: Shot of Garrity at a community meeting in January of 1976. Vaillancourt reports that Spillane has few kind words for Garrity. V: Footage of Spillane being interviewed by Vaillancourt. Spillane says that Garrity was a "disaster"; that Garrity was not a good manager of the schools. Spillane says that Garrity did what was necessary to desegregate the schools; that Garrity tried to manage the schools as well. Spillane says that a federal judge has no qualifications to manage a school system. Vaillancourt reports that Spillane considers his ability to manage the school system as his strength. Vaillancourt reports that the school budget had tripled in the decade before Spillane's arrival. Vaillancourt reports that Spillane cut the school deficit from $30 million to $3 million within one year. Vaillancourt notes that Spillane got Boston businesses involved in the schools; that Boston businesses have given over $5 million in additional funds to the schools. Vaillancourt adds that the Boston Public Schools have the largest private endowment in the nation. V: Footage of a woman introducing Spillane to an audience. Spillane rises from his seat, shakes the woman's hand and prepares to address the audience. The audience applauds. Shots of audience members. Footage of Spillane receiving an award in front of an audience. Footage of Peter McCormick (President, Bank of New England) being interviewed. McCormick says that Spillane is highly respected by the business community. McCormick says that Spillane understands the problems of the business community; that Spillane has been willing to be flexible. McCormick says that the business community responded in kind to Spillane. Vaillancourt reports that Spillane is leaving Boston for Virginia; that Spillane will make an additional $30,000 per year in his new job. Vaillancourt reports that Spillane made $70,000 per year in Boston; that his salary is considered low. V: Footage of Spillane talking with a small group of people. Spillane shakes hands with an Asian American woman. Footage of Spillane being interviewed by Vaillancourt. Spillane says that superintendents are like athletes in that they have a short span of time in which to perform well and make money. Spillane says that there is a good market for superintendents. Vaillancourt reports that some are speculating that Spillane is looking for a political appointment in Washington DC. in the future. Vaillancourt notes that Spillane is a former Deputy Commissioner of Education in New York. V: Shot of Spillane socializing with a group of people at a gathering. Footage of Spillane being interviewed by Vaillancourt. Spillane says that public service is a great opportunity; that he loves public service. Spillane says that he may enter politics in the future; that he might like to be a city councillor or school committee member someday.
Collection: Ten O'Clock News
Date Created: 06/28/1985
Description: First day of school in Boston, Phase IIB of court ordered desegregation. 1) Superintendent Marion Fahey is proud of faculty and students. Associate superintendent Charles Leftwich reports van and three buses were stoned. Mayor Kevin White says unlawful conduct will not be tolerated. 2) Gary Griffith reports on opening commotion at Charlestown High. One-third of enrolled students show up. Federal marshals and police outside. One arrest for disorderly conduct. Neighborhood crowd gathers in street. 3) Pamela Bullard at South Boston High. Black students get off bus to less tension than last year. Police are present but not in riot gear. 4) Art Cohen at Mackey Middle School where teacher student ratio is 1:18. Principal Lloyd Leake. 5) Bullard on magnet program encompassing 21 schools. Exterior, interior of English High. Gregory Anrig, state commissioner of education. Headmaster William Peterkin. 6) Karin Giger on bilingual program at Grover Cleveland Middle School. 7) Bullard talks to boycotting (white) Cormiers of Charlestown. Mother keeps son out of Timilty School where he was assigned to be bused; he has part-time tutoring. 8) Steve Curwood talks to participating (black) Price family from Roxbury, whose children are bused to white neighborhoods. 9) 5 Hyde Park High students, 3 minority, 2 white, discuss racial separation inside school. They expect conflict to be less than last year. 10) Steve Nevas was almost thwarted from covering a Kevin White press conference because mayor felt Nevas could not be objective. (He had investigated fundraising in White campaign.) White attempts to disassemble Channel 2 microphone and asserts he can exclude any reporter from access. Ed Baumeister says this raises First Amendment issue.
Collection: Ten O'Clock News
Date Created: 09/08/1976
Description: Mayor Kevin White exchanges banter with journalist, and goes on to deliver statement on increasing Boston property tax (one-time levy at $16.40) to finance the $27.5 million deficit caused by court ordered desegregation, at Judge Arthur Garrity's request. City treasurer Jim Young elaborates on choosing assessment method over borrowing. Mayor White takes questions from reporters. White accuses school committee of mismanagement in busing effort. He also comments that the teachers will have to work knowing they are in a debt situation.
0:00:30: Visual: Members of the press wait for Kevin White (Mayor, City of Boston) to arrive at press conference at City Hall. Walt Sanders (WBZ) and Gary Griffith (WGBH) are among the reporters. White arrives, begins reading his statement and is interrupted by a knock on the door. He jokes lightheartedly about the interruption. 0:01:53: V: White reads a statement about the school deficit caused by desegregation and school mismanagement. He says that an additional $16.40 will be added to property taxes this year; that Boston's property tax is already the highest in the nation; that Judge Garrity has ordered the city to find new revenue sources to fund the court-ordered desegregation. White says that he is submitting three pieces of legislation to the city council: an appropriation order for $10 million to cover the costs of police overtime; an appropriation order for $17.5 million to keep the schools operating for the remainder of the term; legislation to raise new revenue through the property tax. White says that he is faced with an unpleasant task; that this tax levy is the most efficient way to raise funds; that the tax will be levied only once. White says that he hopes Garrity acts to overhaul the city's school system, personnel, and management; that mismanagement of the school system has caused the deficit. 0:06:50: V: James Young (Treasurer, City of Boston) explains that the taxpayers must pay for the expenditures of the city government; that a tax levy is the most prudent and cost-effective way to raise revenues. Young says that borrowing money to cover the deficit is not a financially sound course of action; that the appropriation orders will allow the city to continue paying for the police and schools; that the tax levy will cover the appropriations; that the tax levy is related to a home rule petition to be brought before the state legislature. 0:08:26: V: White takes questions from reporters. White says that he does not know how quickly the city council will respond; that the tax levy is the most responsible way to cover the deficit. A reporter asks if a lengthy review of the legislation by the city council will allow enough time for the money to be raised. White says that he does not know how long the city council will take to make a decision on the legislation; that he did his best to respond expeditiously to the request by Judge Garrity. A reporter brings up other suggestions of ways to fund the deficit. White says that there are only a few rational and responsible ways to raise the funds; that the tax levy is the easiest, fairest, and cheapest way to cover the deficit. White says that extra police overtime is directly related to the desegregation order and should be covered along with the school deficit; that the taxes will be levied only to cover expenses resulting from the court order; that the deficit does not reflect any of the busing costs from the previous year. 0:12:19: V: A reporter asks about a rumored $8 million surplus in the budget. Young refutes those numbers and says there is no surplus. White says that money needs to be allocated in order to cover the next School Department payroll on June 1; that presently there is no more money to cover School Department payroll; that payroll will be owed to employees if the hours are worked. Young admits that there will be short-term borrowing to cover the deficit until the tax is levied; that he does not know how much will be borrowed; that $5.5 million is needed to cover payroll in 2 weeks. White says that he will not comment on speculation that some city residents will not pay the tax. A reporter accuses White of waiting until the last possible moment to raise the funds. White says that he notified all parties of the shortfall six months ago; that Judge Garrity did not consider the shortfall to be an emergency situation; that he warned the School Committee to make cuts; that neither the court nor the School Committee responded to his warnings. White accuses the School Committee of "total mismanagement" of the desegregation process. White says that some people have profited from school desegregation; that the city absorbed the costs of desegregation without comment last year; that the school deficit must be brought to the attention of the taxpayers. 0:19:03: V: White says that he does not want to close the city schools; that he refuses to borrow money to cover the costs of mismanagement of the school system. White admits that school teachers are going to work with the knowledge that there is no money for payroll; that the management of the schools must be overhauled next year. White says that he is responding to a request from the court to cover the deficit.
Collection: Ten O'Clock News
Date Created: 05/17/1976
Description: Review of the first few years of court ordered desgregation, including explosion of racism and violence, and the heavy police patrol required to keep things under control. Garrity is still in charge of the Boston schools. Although things are more quiet, and certain programs are working , like magnet schools, a high percentage of Boston students are still significantly under the national average. The Boston school system is also still overwhelmingly made up of minority students. Black parents propose ‘freedom of choice’ plan. Interviews with Robert Peterkin, Robert Spillane, and other officials. Classroom scenes of the current school system,highlighting Mildred Reed and her daughter Kim. They are Jamaica Plain residents, and Kim is bused to Brighton High School. Interview with Kim, where she talks about the benefits of being bused. Scenes of Kim getting on the bus, the bus ride, and in school.
Collection: Ten O'Clock News
Date Created: 01/11/1984
Description: An overview of the modified (Phase IIB) Boston public schools court ordered desegregation plan: district schools, magnet schools at elementary and middle levels, specialized high school programs, technical and vocational schools. Explanation of the application process and how to indicate choices for focused programs.
Collection: Ten O'Clock News
Date Created: 05/24/1976