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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Proposed Contracts with Educational Management Organizations (EMOs) for Four Charter Schools in Boston

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
June 17, 2011

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At its meeting in February 2011, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) granted charters to Grove Hall Preparatory Charter School, Dorchester Preparatory Charter School, and UP Academy Charter School of Boston. The Board also voted to amend the charter of Roxbury Preparatory Charter School. All four schools proposed to contract with educational management organizations (EMOs).

The board of trustees of UP Academy Charter School of Boston intends to enter into a contract with Unlocking Potential to procure substantially all educational services. Unlocking Potential is a non-profit school management organization established to help turn around chronically underperforming urban schools. UP Academy Charter School of Boston is a conversion of the district's Gavin Middle School to a Horace Mann charter school.

The board of trustees of Roxbury Preparatory Charter School, Grove Hall Preparatory Charter School, and Dorchester Preparatory Charter School intends to enter into a contract with Uncommon Schools to procure substantially all educational services. Uncommon Schools is a non-profit charter management organization that currently manages 24 schools in New York City, upstate New York, Newark, and Boston.

Under the charter school statute, G.L. c. 71, § 89(k)(5), the Board must approve contracts between charter schools and entities from which they intend to procure substantially all educational services. Prior to Board action, Department staff review the technical and legal aspects of all proposed contracts. The contracts must include a delineation of the roles and responsibilities of the EMO 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.

After reviewing drafts of these contracts, we sent our initial comments back to the schools, and we expect to receive revised drafts in the upcoming weeks. The schools are working with us to revise and to clarify the contract terms. This review process typically takes more than a month.

Because time is of the essence, and because the Board's summer meeting schedule is uncertain, I recommend that the Board vote to authorize me to approve the contracts pending satisfactory completion of our review. The Board would delegate this authority to the Commissioner under G.L. c. 15, § 1F, para. 3:

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 this delegation is attached.

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Senior Associate Commissioner Jeff Wulfson; Barry Barnett, Acting Director of Charter Schools; or me.

Attachment:

Motion



Last Updated: June 22, 2011
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