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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Proposed Amendments to Charter School Regulations, 603 CMR 1.00

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
December 6, 2013

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Enclosed with this memorandum are proposed amendments to the Charter School Regulations, 603 CMR 1.00. I am asking for a vote at your meeting on December 17, 2013 to solicit public comment on the proposed amendments. I expect to bring these amendments back to you for a final vote in March 2014.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) last amended these regulations in May 2010, shortly after M.G.L. c. 71, § 89, was significantly amended by Chapter 12 of the Acts of 2010, the Achievement Gap Act. The amendments I am proposing this month are comprehensive and reflect the experience of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) since 2010. The revisions align the regulations with current guidance and policy; clarify inconsistencies; and strengthen aspects of the charter school accountability system. These proposed changes will advance the goals of high quality charter authorizing and improving educational outcomes for all students throughout the Commonwealth.

Topics covered in these proposed amended regulations include:

  • the explicit inclusion of student growth measures as part of the qualifications for proven providers;
  • strengthening requirements for written notice to families about the rights of children to attend charter schools and receive accommodations and services;
  • a revision of the calculation used by the Commissioner to determine the lowest performing 10 percent of districts for net school spending cap determinations, to align more closely with the calculations used for the statewide accountability system;
  • prohibition of "rolling" waitlists and prohibition of lotteries prior to January 1 for the upcoming school year;
  • backfilling requirements for a school with an odd number of grades are revised to require a school to fill vacant seats in more than half the grades offered;
  • roles and responsibilities of charter school boards of trustees;
  • changes to the procedural requirements for amendments to charters of charter schools; and
  • clarification of processes for conditions, probation, and closure.

The Department has shared the substance of the proposed changes to these regulations with and solicited feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, including current charter school leaders and the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the American Federation of Teachers-Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Municipal Association. The Board's charter school committee also discussed these changes at their meeting on October 21, 2013.

Attached is a "Summary of Proposed Changes to 603 CMR 1.00" (Attachment 1); a clean copy of the regulations as they would look with the proposed amendments (Attachment 2); and, for your convenience, a copy of the current regulations in their entirety with the proposed amendments shown with tracked changes indicated (Attachment 3).

If you have any questions on the proposed changes to these regulations, please contact Cliff Chuang, Associate Commissioner at 781-338-3222; Jeff Wulfson, Deputy Commissioner at 781-338-6500; or me.

Attachments:

Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Summary of Proposed Changes
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Clean copy of the proposed regulations
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Current regulations with tracked changes indicated
 
Motion to solicit public comment


Last Updated: December 11, 2013
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