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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Charter Schools - Request for Review by Mystic Valley Regional Charter School

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
May 10, 2013

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The Mystic Valley Regional Charter School (MVRCS) is a Commonwealth charter school located in Malden and serving Malden, Everett, Medford, Melrose, Stoneham, and Wakefield. The school's mission "is to provide the opportunity of a world class education characterized by a well-mannered, disciplined and structured academic climate. Central to MVRCS' academic environment is the incorporation of selected core virtues and the fundamental ideals of our American Culture, which are embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution."

MVRCS opened in September 1998 as a K-12 school with an original maximum enrollment of 1,176 students. MVRCS has previously received approval from the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) to increase its maximum enrollment to 1,400 students in 2005 and then to 1,500 students in 2009. A request in 2011 for 400 additional seats was not approved.

On July 30, 2012, MVRCS resubmitted its request for an additional 400 seats. Because the school's current charter ran through June 30, 2013, I deferred action on the expansion request until after the renewal process was complete. As documented in the renewal Summary of Review (attached), the school's academic performance has been strong but there are governance issues that require attention. On February 15, 2013, I renewed the school's charter for a fourth term, but I imposed several conditions to address these concerns. On March 12, 2013, I notified the school that I was not prepared to recommend approval of their expansion request at this time. I have indicated to the school's leadership that I am prepared to give full consideration to their request as soon as we have evidence that they are responding to our concerns.

The Board's charter school regulations, 603 CMR 1.11(6), state that "Should the Commissioner deny an amendment request, the charter school's board of trustees may seek review of the Commissioner's decision by the Board." On March 29, 2013, the school requested a review of my decision by the Board, and that request comes before you at the May 21 meeting.

Neil Kinnon, the board chair, and Martin Trice, the school leader, spoke to the Board during the public comment period at your meeting on February 26, 2013. Representatives of the school will be present for the May 21 meeting and will have the opportunity to make some brief additional remarks. Staff from the Department's Charter School Office will also be available to answer your questions.

The Board's options in this matter are to:

  • Vote to approve the school's amendment request, notwithstanding my objections;
  • Vote to deny the amendment request; or
  • Take no formal action, in which case the denial stands.

I am enclosing copies of the school's amendment request dated July 30, 2012; my denial letter dated March 12, 2013; and the school's request, dated March 29, 2013, for a review by the Board of my decision. In accordance with our normal procedures, the superintendents and school committees in the school's region were given an opportunity to comment on the amendment request. We did not receive comment prior to my decision on the school's request but did receive an April 10, 2013 letter from several Malden city councilors in support of the school's enrollment increase, and that letter is also enclosed. I have also included the school's 2013 Summary of Review and my letter of February 15, 2013 notifying the school of its renewal with conditions as supporting documentation for Board review.

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If you have any questions regarding these amendments or require additional information, please contact me, Deputy Commissioner Jeff Wulfson, or Associate Commissioner Cliff Chuang.

Attachments:

Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Correspondence from MVRCS: Appeal Request
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Correspondence from MVRCS: Amendment Request
 
Amendment Review Analysis for Mystic Valley Regional Charter School
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Analysis 1
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Analysis 2
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Analysis 3

Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Notification Letter of Amendment Request Denial Decision
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Summary of Review for Mystic Valley Regional Charter School
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Notification Letter of Renewal with Conditions Decision
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Correspondence from Malden City Councilors


Last Updated: May 16, 2013
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