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Proposed Contracts with an Educational Management Organization (EMO) for Two Horace Mann Charter Schools in Boston

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
October 11, 2013


At its meeting in February 2011, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) granted a charter to UP Academy Charter School of Boston (UP Boston). In February 2013, the Board granted a second charter to the board of trustees of UP Boston to establish a second Horace Mann charter school in Boston, UP Academy Charter School of Dorchester (UP Dorchester). For both schools, the board of trustees contracts with Unlocking Potential, an EMO, to procure substantially all educational services. I recommend that the Board delegate authority to me to approve the management contract for both schools.

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 approval, the Department reviews 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.

I previously approved the management contract between UP Boston and Unlocking Potential pursuant to authority delegated by the Board.1 The board of trustees of these schools intends to revise the contract for UP Boston and include services for UP Dorchester in the revised contract. The Department has reviewed a draft of the revised contract; it addresses the required elements and increases specificity in the description of educational services presently provided by the Unlocking Potential. The board of trustees now must submit an executed contract to the Department, including approval by the local teachers' union and the school committee. The Department expects to receive the required documentation from the board of trustees in the upcoming weeks.

In order to ensure that both the schools and the EMO can operate under the revised parameters without additional delay, I recommend that the Board vote to authorize me to approve the contracts, pending satisfactory completion of the required elements of the Department's review process, pursuant to G.L. c. 15, § 1F, para. 3 ("board may delegate its authority or any portion thereof to the Commissioner"). A motion for this delegation is attached.

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Cliff Chuang, Associate Commissioner (781-338-3222); Jeff Wulfson, Deputy Commissioner (781-338-6500); or me.

Attachment: Motion

Last Updated: October 17, 2013
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