Mass.gov
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Go to Selected Program Area
Massachusetts State Seal
Students & Families Educators & Administrators Teaching, Learning & Testing Data & Accountability Finance & Funding About the Department Education Board  
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Charter Schools - Amendment Request for Consolidation and Conditions on Charters of Match Charter Public School and Match Community Day Charter Public School

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
February 14, 2014

line

In September 2013, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) received two requests from charter schools to consolidate separate charter schools under one charter. At its meeting in January 2014, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) approved the request of the board of trustees of Excel Academy Charter School, Excel Academy Charter School - Chelsea, and Excel Academy Charter School - Boston II (collectively "the Excel charter schools") to consolidate under a single charter. I indicated that I was deferring to a future date a similar request made by the board of trustees of the Match Charter Public School and Match Community Day Charter Public School (collectively "the Match charter schools").

This month, I am recommending that the Board grant the consolidation request of the board of trustees of the Match charter schools to consolidate, effective July 1, 2014, under a single charter as Match Charter Public School. I also recommend that the Board impose conditions to clarify the relationships between the charter schools and their associated private entities.

Background

Pursuant to G.L. c. 71, § 89(d), the Board may authorize "a single board of trustees to oversee more than one charter school provided . . . each school is issued its own charter." Currently, eight boards of trustees hold two or more charters and oversee networks of charter schools. Consolidating charter schools under one charter permits the schools to operate as one school as opposed to separate schools within a network of charter schools overseen by a single board of trustees. The Board previously approved consolidation of charter schools under one charter for Roxbury Preparatory Charter School in December 2011 and for the Excel charter schools in January 2014.

The Match Charter Schools

The Board awarded a charter to establish the Match Charter Public School in 2000. The original school served Boston high school students. Since that time, the Board has renewed the charter of Match Charter Public School twice and granted its requests for amendments to expand enrollment and grades. Based upon its record of success, the Board granted the school's board of trustees a second charter in 2011 to serve 700 students in grades PK-12, specifically focused on recruiting English language learners.

 Match Charter Public School (Match)Match Community Day Charter Public School (MCD)
Type of CharterCommonwealth
LocationBoston
Regional/Non-regionalNon-regional
Year Opened20002011
Year Renewed2005, 2010N/A
Grades Chartered5-12PK-12
Grades Implemented6-12PK-4
Maximum Enrollment550700
Current Enrollment496300
Age of School143
Mission StatementThe mission of the Match Charter Public School is to prepare students to succeed in college and beyond.
The mission of Match Community Day Charter Public School is to prepare Boston children to succeed in college and beyond, in particular those would be the first in their families to earn a college degree. We intend this school to serve large numbers of English language learners.

Recommendation to Consolidate

In making my recommendation to consolidate the charters of the Match charter schools, I have considered the advantages of consolidation, both for the Match charter schools and for families and students in Boston. As noted previously in connection with the consolidation request for the Excel charter schools, consolidation allows the schools to realize efficiencies not currently available, eliminate redundancies, and simplify administrative processes, such as lotteries for enrollment. Consolidation allows the Match charter schools to access financing for facilities development more easily. In addition, consolidation will permit all students to access the programs of the Match charter schools through grade 12 without participating in an additional application and lottery process. Siblings of students currently attending the schools would be entitled to an enrollment preference and would no longer need to apply to two schools separately with a preference at only one school.

The Department reviewed the amendment request, considered additional clarifying information and documents provided by the charter schools, and interviewed the schools' board of trustees and leadership team. Most importantly, the Match charter schools are committed to serving English language learners and to backfilling vacancies through ninth grade, exceeding statutory requirements. The mission statement for the consolidated Match charter schools will be that of the current Match Community Day Charter Public School. The request of these schools to consolidate is reasonable and consistent with the charter school statute and regulations.

The Department solicited comment regarding the proposed consolidation from the superintendent of the Boston Public Schools. No comment was received.

Given the schools' programs and academic success, including active dissemination efforts, I recommend that the Board grant the requested amendment to permit consolidation.

Recommendation to Impose Conditions

Although I am recommending that the Board grant the requested amendment to permit consolidation, I also recommend that the Board impose three conditions on the charters of Match Charter Public School and Match Community Day Charter Public School to address concerns regarding the overlap between the Match charter schools and associated private entities.

The Match charter schools have formed four associated private entities-the Match School Foundation, Inc., ("Foundation"); the Charles Sposato Graduate School of Education, Inc. ("Graduate School"); the Match Foundation QALICB, Inc.; and the Match Middle School QALICB, Inc.-to support fundraising, facilities acquisition, and dissemination of best practices by the charter schools. These best practices include "high-dosage" tutoring, a core element of the Match charter schools and a strategy used by turnaround operators working with Level 4 and 5 schools in Massachusetts and other states, and the teacher preparation model in place at the Match charter schools that provides a pipeline of new teachers to serve in charter and district schools.

Charter schools and other public entities are permitted to create associated private entities for these types of purposes, with careful attention to structure, governance, and other issues. The Match charter schools and the private entities have separate governing bodies and do not have overlapping boards. There is, however, fairly extensive overlap in other respects between the charter schools and the private entities.1 This overlap raises issues regarding record-keeping for purposes of state retirement and issues under the Commonwealth's conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, §§ 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8A. The overlap and manner of presenting the combined enterprise also may raise questions regarding control of the charter schools.2 For these reasons, I recommend that the Board impose the following three conditions on the charters of both the Match Charter Public School and Match Community Day Charter Public School:

  1. As it relates to the charter schools and their associated private entities, current members of the board of trustees and employees of the charter schools who also provide services to or hold a position in any capacity at any of the schools' associated private entities are required to request the advice of and a written opinion from the State Ethics Commission no later than March 14, 2014. The schools must provide copies of all written communications with the State Ethics Commission, including the requests for opinions and all opinions received, to the Department within 15 days of being sent or received. The schools and their employees must implement the advice and opinions of the State Ethics Commission upon receipt;

  2. The charter schools must contact the appropriate public employee retirement boards no later than March 14, 2014 to ensure that employee time has been properly reported. To the extent that reported time requires correction, the charter schools must correct that reported time as expeditiously as possible and to the satisfaction of the appropriate public employee retirement boards. No later than June 13, 2014, the charter schools must provide to the Department evidence of having met this condition; and

  3. The charter schools must change how they are represented on the website Match Education and in all other materials, including those used for marketing, to clarify that the charter schools are public bodies governed by a board of trustees, and that they are not controlled or operated by any private entity, including any associated private entities. Any website used by the charter schools must indicate to the public clearly and unequivocally that the schools are public entities. No later than June 27, 2014, the charter schools must provide to the Department evidence of having met this condition.

The board of trustees of the Match charter schools must address the substantive issues that are the focus of these conditions irrespective of whether the consolidation is granted. Granting the schools' consolidation request will allow the schools to realize efficiencies not currently available, eliminate redundancies, simplify administrative processes, and access facilities financing more easily. This in turn may make it easier for the schools to satisfy these conditions.

The amendment request to consolidate made by the board of trustees of the Match Charter Public School and Match Community Day Charter Public School, a summary of the Department's review, and a motion for approval and imposition of conditions are attached for your consideration.

Attachments:

Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Correspondence from Match Charter Public School and Match Community Day Charter Public School
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Summary of the Amendment Request of the Board of Trustees of Match Charter Public School and Match Community Day Charter Public School
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Selected Student Enrollment Demographics, Student Attrition Rates, Selected Academic Performance Data, and Five Year Financial Summary of Match Charter Public School and Match Community Day Charter Public School
 
Motion

line



Last Updated: February 20, 2014
E-mail this page| Print View| Print Pdf  
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Search·Public Records Requests · A-Z Site Index · Policies · Site Info · Contact ESE