Kate Colburn’s Statement on METCO

I support the Metco program unequivocally. Since 1966 it has been a point of pride for the Lexington community. Metco benefits students who live in Lexington as well as those who live in Boston by bringing together children of diverse backgrounds and experiences and facilitating conversations, educational opportunities, and friendships that would not have occurred otherwise.

In the years that I have been studying our enrollment growth and advocating for solutions to overcrowding, I have heard many different groups of Lexington students blamed for our capacity shortage: recent immigrants, students who live in apartments, special education students, and, recently, Metco students. This inclination to blame others for our lack of classroom space is unacceptable. The desire to provide our children a high-quality education should be seen as a shared value among all Lexington families, not a threat, and we need to live up to our values by maintaining the strength of our schools.

Recent arguments that eliminating Metco would result in significant taxpayer savings have been largely debunked by the Superintendent. Moreover, while I would support working with our state legislators to increase state funding, I believe Lexington’s current investment in the Metco program is money well-spent. 

I would also support exploring ways our school communities could be more inclusive of Metco students. I have observed that it is often difficult for Metco students and families to participate in after-school or evening activities and play dates due to lack of transportation.  We could consider adding a late bus to facilitate this participation, or holding some school events like science fairs and math nights in Boston. As a community, we need to embrace the importance of this program to all Lexington students and nurture it accordingly.