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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Regulations on Educational Collaboratives, 603 CMR 50.00

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
January 24, 2013

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At the September 25, 2012 meeting, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to solicit public comment on the proposed regulations, 603 CMR 50.00: Educational Collaboratives. These new regulations cover a range of topics outlined in the most recent amendment to the statute authorizing educational collaboratives (M.G.L. Chapter 40, Section 4E, as amended by Chapter 43 of the Acts of 2012), which became effective on March 2, 2012. The law provides for sweeping changes in the operation and accountability of educational collaboratives and requires the Department, among other things, to provide training for collaborative board members, to develop a model collaborative agreement, to collect and review collaborative annual reports and independent audit reports, and to establish regulations to clarify the new components of the law. I will ask for a final vote on these regulations at the January 29, 2013 Board meeting.

Public Comments: We received a significant amount of public comment from a wide variety of individuals and organizations during the public comment period. The comments covered a wide range of views, some contrary to others. As I indicated at the December 2012 Board meeting, I felt it was important to take additional time to review the comments, make changes to the proposed regulations as appropriate, and provide feedback to our stakeholder groups on the status of their suggestions. Staff had follow-up conversations on the proposed changes with the primary stakeholders, including the Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives, the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, the Office of the Inspector General, and the Office of the Attorney General.

As a result of the comments received, we have made numerous revisions to the regulations, as well as additional edits for clarity, completeness, and consistency with the statute. The comments we received during the extended public comment period are contained in the attached Analysis and Summary Chart of Public Comments.

In addition to clarifying language, some of the substantive changes include:

  • Expanding the issues to be addressed in the collaborative agreement, including the conditions of membership and a process for determining and approving any cumulative surplus and how and under what conditions such surplus may be returned to member districts;
  • Clarifying the components of collaborative financial statements and definitions of surplus funds;
  • Clarifying the steps needed to create, approve and amend the collaborative budget, tuition rates and fees;
  • Clarifying the fiduciary responsibility of appointed representatives to collaborative boards;
  • Emphasizing that educational collaboratives must comply with the state ethics law and the state's procurement law; and
  • Requiring additional elements in the training of collaborative board members.

Along with the regulations, we have also produced a Model Collaborative Agreement that existing educational collaboratives may use as they amend their agreements to comply with the new law. We have reviewed the Model Agreement with appropriate stakeholders. I have included the Model Agreement for the Board's information.

If you have any questions on the proposed regulations, please contact Jay Sullivan, Executive Director of School Finance and District Support at 781-338-6594, Christine Lynch, Director of School Governance at 781-338-6520, or me.

Attachments:

Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Recommended final regulations with new language indicated by underline
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Recommended final regulations (clean copy)
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Analysis and Summary Chart of Public Comments
View External Link
Statute: M.G.L. Chapter 40, Section 4E, as amended by Chapter 43 of the Acts of 2012
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Model Collaborative Agreement
 
Motion to adopt the regulations


Last Updated: January 28, 2013
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