The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Robert M. Hughes Academy Charter Public School
|To:||Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education|
|From:||Rhoda E. Schneider, General Counsel|
|Date:||May 14, 2010|
On January 26, 2010, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) voted its intention to revoke the charter granted to the Robert M. Hughes Academy Charter Public School (RMH), effective June 30, 2010, subject to the right of the RMH board of trustees to request an adjudicatory hearing. The RMH board filed a timely request for hearing and the Board appointed Attorney John E. Bowman, Jr. as its hearing officer for this matter. The hearing officer presided over an adjudicatory hearing that was held over the course of ten days, concluding on April 9, 2010.
The hearing officer issued his Initial Decision on May 10, 2010. The Initial Decision, which is enclosed, concludes as follows:
I find that cause exists under the Department's regulation (603 CMR 1.13(1)) and statute (G.L. c. 71, sec. 89(ee) (formerly (kk)) to revoke the charter granted to the Robert M. Hughes Academy Charter Public School.
The hearing officer's report is called an "initial decision" or "tentative decision" because the Board makes the final decision on the question whether the school's charter is to be revoked, after reviewing the initial decision and any written objections and responses filed by the parties (the school and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education). All of the evidence and the briefs submitted at the administrative hearing, as well as transcripts and videotapes of the hearing, are available to Board members upon request.
The special meeting of the Board at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, May 24, 2010, is the final administrative step in the legal proceedings regarding the school's charter. The special meeting will be held at the Department's offices in Malden. Here are the next steps that lead to the Board's final decision on May 24th:
RMH has the right to submit written objections to the initial decision. Counsel for RMH has notified me that he will submit his objections by the close of business on May 17th. Counsel for the Department may submit a written response. I will transmit these documents to Board members when I receive them.
At the May 24th special meeting, the parties have the right to address the Board before it makes the final decision. We are reserving a total of one hour (3:30-4:30 p.m.) on the Board's special meeting agenda for the presentation(s), Board discussion, and vote. I have asked the parties to plan on presenting for no more than 15 minutes each, to allow ample time for questions and discussion by Board members.
These administrative proceedings are governed by the Standard Adjudicatory Rules of Practice and Procedure, 801 CMR 1.00. Section 1.01 (11) (c) (2) describes the role of the Board (the Agency) with respect to the initial decision (Tentative Decision) of the hearing officer (Presiding Officer):
Agency Action on the Tentative Decision. The Agency may affirm and adopt the tentative decision in whole or in part, and it may recommit the tentative decision to the Presiding Officer for further findings as it may direct. The same procedural provisions applicable to the initial filing of the tentative decision shall apply to any re-filed tentative decision after recommittal. If the Agency does not accept the whole of the tentative decision, it shall provide an adequate reason for rejecting those portions of the tentative decision it does not affirm and adopt. However, the Agency may not reject a Presiding Officer's tentative determinations of credibility of witnesses personally appearing. The Agency's decision shall be on the record, including the Presiding Officer's tentative decision, and shall be the final decision of the Agency not subject to further Agency review.
The Board will make the final decision on May 24th on the question whether the RMH charter is to be revoked. The special meeting will be conducted in open session.
As legal counsel to the Board, I will be available at the May 24th Board meeting to advise you, through the Chair, as to the form of the motion for your final decision.
Hearing Officer's Initial Decision
Petitioner's Objections to the Hearing Officer's Initial Decision
Department's Response to Petitioner's Objections to the Hearing Officer's Initial Decision