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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Charter Schools — Delegation to Commissioner of Approval of Proposed Contracts with Education Management Organizations for UP Academy Charter School of Dorchester, UP Academy Charter School of Boston, and Collegiate Charter School of Lowell

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Jeffrey C. Riley, Commissioner
Date:
April 13, 2018

In February 2018 and March 2018, the Commissioner renewed the charters of UP Academy Charter School of Dorchester (UP Dorchester) and Collegiate Charter School of Lowell (CCSL) pursuant to delegated authority.1 The boards of trustees of both schools are now updating and amending the management contracts that they have with education management organizations (EMOs). Because the process of updating and reviewing management contracts can take several months, I am recommending that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) delegate to me approval of management contracts for three schools: UP Dorchester, UP Academy Charter School of Boston (UP Boston), and CCSL. Below is more detail regarding these contracts.

The UP Dorchester and UP Boston contract with the UP Education Network for education and management services. UP Education Network is a private non-profit organization based in Massachusetts that has provided education and management services under two separate contracts to UP Dorchester and to UP Boston since the schools were established in 2013 and 2011, respectively. The Commissioner renewed the charter of UP Dorchester in February 2018 with conditions related to governance. The single board of trustees that holds the charters for both UP charter schools would like to amend and update the two management contracts between the board of trustees and UP Education Network associated with the two schools. The board of trustees must ensure that all policies, contracts, and agreements are updated to reflect current practice.

The board of trustees of CCSL contracts with Springfield Education Management, LLC (SEM), for education and management services. Springfield Education Management also manages two other charter schools in high need districts in Massachusetts: the SABIS International Charter School, a K-12 school in Springfield, and the Holyoke Community Charter School, a K-8 school in Holyoke. Springfield Education Management is a wholly owned subsidiary of SABIS® Educational Systems, Inc. (SABIS), a for-profit EMO. The Collegiate Charter School of Lowell board of trustees would like to amend and update and to amend its management contract with SEM.

Under the charter school statute, G.L. c. 71, § 89(k)(5), the Board approves contracts between charter schools and the entities from which they intend to procure substantially all education services. The contracts must include a delineation of the roles and responsibilities of the education management organization and the school; a description of how the board of trustees of the charter school will monitor the academic performance and fiscal activity of the school; performance evaluation measures, including those for student academic performance; the total fee paid for management services; a description of the payment structure; delineation of authority over hiring and firing; and the conditions and procedures for the contract's renewal and termination.

Both boards of trustees have existing contracts that were previously approved through the review process performed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department). Prior to approval, the Department reviews the technical and legal aspects of the proposed revisions to the respective management contracts. The board of trustees for each of these charter schools then votes to approve the contract and to submit it to the Department with an amendment request under 603 CMR 1.10. In addition, the board of trustees of UP Boston and UP Dorchester, both of which are Horace Mann charter schools in Boston, must obtain approval of the local teachers union and the school committee for the new contracts pursuant to G.L. c. 71, § 89(c) and (i)(1), and 603 CMR 1.10(4).

In previous years, the Board has voted to delegate the approval of such contracts to the Commissioner due to the timing for review and approval. Charters seeking renewal typically wait until after their charters are renewed to begin the process of revising their education services contracts. Due to the recent renewal of UP Dorchester and CCSL, both boards of trustees are planning for the schools' second charter terms, including an update of their relevant management contracts. In the case of UP Boston, the Because the review and eventual approval of such contracts will likely occur during the upcoming summer months, I recommend that the Board vote to authorize me to approve the contracts upon satisfactory completion of my review. Such delegation is authorized by G.L. c. 15, § 1F, para. 3, which states:

The board may delegate its authority or any portion thereof to the commissioner whenever in its judgment such delegation may be necessary or desirable. The commissioner shall exercise such delegated powers and duties with the full authority of the board.

A motion for delegation is attached.

If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact Alison Bagg, Director, at 781-338-3218; Cliff Chuang, Senior Associate Commissioner, at 781-338-3222; or me.

Enclosure:

Download Word Document
Motion to delegate contract approval

 

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Last Updated: April 17, 2018
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