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Proposed Educational Collaborative Regulations, 603 CMR 50.00

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
September 21, 2012


In March 2012, a comprehensive amendment to the statute authorizing education collaboratives (Mass. General Laws Chapter 40, Section 4E) was enacted as Chapter 43 of the Acts of 2012. This legislation, called An Act Relative to Improving Accountability and Oversight of Education Collaboratives, provides for sweeping changes in the operation and accountability of education collaboratives. It incorporates many aspects of the bill that Governor Patrick filed in October 2011 in response to recommendations that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education endorsed after the Board held hearings on education collaboratives during the summer of 2011, as well as a similar bill filed by Education Committee Co-Chair Sonia Chang-Diaz. The law strengthens state oversight, financial accountability, and governance for education collaboratives. It addresses serious problems and gaps that were identified by the Office of the State Auditor and the Inspector General. It also establishes a special commission to examine and make recommendations on the future role for education collaboratives in the Commonwealth.

Among other things, the law authorizes the Board to adopt regulations as needed. Enclosed with this memorandum are proposed regulations relating to educational collaboratives, for your initial review and discussion, and for a vote to solicit public comment. With the Board's approval at the September meeting, we will solicit public comment on the proposed regulations and bring them back to the Board for a final vote in November 2012.

Over the past several months, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) has worked to draft the regulations to carry out the purpose and intent of the newly amended statute and advance the system of oversight and accountability regarding educational collaboratives in Massachusetts. We have shared the draft regulations with and solicited feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, including the Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives; the Massachusetts Association of School Committees; the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents; the Office of the State Auditor; the Massachusetts Department of Revenue; and the Executive Office of Education. This work has put us in a strong position to move forward and carry out the responsibilities of the new law.

These proposed regulations address specific areas required by the new law, such as:

  • standards for approval of educational collaborative agreements and amendments;
  • responsibilities of member districts, appointed representatives, and collaborative boards of directors;
  • training requirements and standards for collaborative board members;
  • required collaborative employees;
  • financial accounting and budget requirements;
  • limits on the cumulative surplus revenues held by a collaborative at the end of a fiscal year;
  • audit and annual reporting requirements;
  • standards and procedures for requiring remedial plans/probationary status
  • standards and procedures for terminating, suspending, or revoking collaborative agreement approval; and
  • evaluation and compliance requirements.

Some of the changes in the educational collaborative statute do not require clarifying regulations, though we are preparing a number of policies, guidance documents, and procedures to assist in implementing the new law. For example, as required by the statute, we are developing a model collaborative agreement that existing educational collaboratives may use as they amend their agreements to comply with the new law. We are considering options so that I can appoint one "independent" voting member to each collaborative board, as the statute directs. We are also reviewing existing training and, where needed, developing appropriate materials for the mandated trainings for newly appointed board members. In addition, we are developing a variety of technical assistance documents, including guidelines for submitting annual reports and for amending a collaborative agreement.

I recommend that the Board vote to solicit public comment on the proposed regulations. If you have any questions on the proposed regulations, please contact Jeff Wulfson, Deputy Commissioner, at 781-338-6500; Christine Lynch, Director of School Governance at 781-338-6520; or me.


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Proposed Regulations
Chapter 43 of the Acts of 2012 (amending M.G.L. Chapter 40, Section 4E)
Motion to Solicit Public Comment on Proposed Regulations

Last Updated: October 2, 2012
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