Education Laws and Regulations
603 CMR 48.00: Innovation Schools Regulations
Most Recently Amended by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education: March 25, 2014
48.04: Specific Provisions
(1) Innovation school serving two or more school districts.
If an eligible applicant, as identified in M.G.L. c.71, s.92(f), seeks to establish an innovation school that will serve students from two or more school districts, the superintendents of those districts shall jointly decide which district will be the lead district for purposes of the innovation school. The applicant shall prepare a prospectus for the proposed school and submit it to the superintendent of the lead district. The prospectus shall be reviewed by a screening committee convened by the superintendent of the designated lead district and constituted of individuals from the lead district. If the prospectus is accepted by two-thirds of the screening committee, the applicant shall form an innovation plan committee.
The applicant may compose the innovation plan committee of individuals, as identified in M.G.L. c.71, s.92(i), from any of the sponsoring districts, including the lead district, whose students will be served by the proposed innovation school.
The innovation plan must specify the tuition arrangement between the sponsoring districts.
The innovation plan must be submitted for approval to the school committees of each sponsoring district that will be served by the proposed innovation school. Each sponsoring district's school committee must separately approve the submitted innovation plan in order for the innovation school to be authorized or re-authorized. The innovation plan may specify the procedure by which an innovation plan may be revised and re-submitted for approval if one or more sponsoring district school committees reject the initial innovation plan.
(2) Innovation Schools Zone. A school district may establish an Innovation Schools Zone, whereby the school district operates two or more innovation schools in accordance with common instructional themes or areas of focus, or in accordance with other factors as approved by the local school committee.
(3) Screening committee's consideration of a revised prospectus. If the screening committee returns the prospectus to the eligible applicant for revisions, the applicant may submit a revised prospectus to the screening committee for consideration. Within 30 days of receiving a revised prospectus, the screening committee shall decide, on the basis of a two-thirds vote, to accept or reject the prospectus, or return the prospectus to the eligible applicant for further revisions.
(4) Innovation plan approval process for conversion schools and academies.
In the case of converting an established program into an academy, the innovation plan must include a description of the teachers in the school to whom the innovation plan will be submitted for approval. Two-thirds of votes cast by the teachers in that election shall be required to approve the innovation plan. In the case of proposing a new program as an academy, the applicant shall follow the process laid out in M.G.L. c.71, s. 92(l) for establishing a new school.
In the case of a school conversion or the conversion of an established program into an academy, the innovation plan shall describe the process and schedule for seeking approval of the innovation plan by the teachers who must approve the plan. The innovation plan shall describe the process for conducting the vote, including absentee voting. The innovation plan shall ensure that the process allows the teachers sufficient time to review and consider the plan before the vote. The applicant, the school district, and the local teacher's union shall coordinate to carry out the process described in the innovation plan. A teacher on approved leave from the school at the time of the election may vote in such election. A teacher who is retiring or who knows that he/she will not be employed at the school the following year shall not vote in such election. Two-thirds of votes cast by the teachers in that election shall be required to approve the plan.
(5) Reporting requirement. The superintendent of a sponsoring district must notify the Commissioner within 30 days of the sponsoring district school committee's authorization or re-authorization of an innovation school. The superintendent shall include a copy of the approved innovation plan in the notification to the Commissioner.
(6) Amendments to innovation plans. An applicant may amend an operating innovation plan during its 5-year authorization period. If the proposed amendment would directly affect the major autonomies established in the existing innovation plan, the applicant/operator must follow the innovation school approval process laid out in M.G.L. c.71, s.92(i)-(m), beginning with the innovation plan committee and continuing through to final school committee approval. In the case of any other revision to the plan, the applicant shall provide notice to the teachers and the district superintendent of the revision, and the district superintendent shall note the change in his/her annual evaluation of the innovation school, which shall be transmitted to the district school committee(s) and the Commissioner pursuant to M.G.L. c.71, s.92(n). Any proposed amendment to the operating innovation plan that would require a new waiver or exemption from the teacher contract shall be approved by teachers at the school, pursuant to M.G.L. c.71, s.92(l) and 603 CMR 48.04.
(7) Failure by a school district to support an authorized innovation school. The operators of an authorized innovation school who encounter any failure by a sponsoring district or districts to support the school, including, but not limited to, failure to provide the autonomies and flexibilities approved in the school's innovation plan, may petition the Commissioner for the selection of a mediator or an arbitrator. The Commissioner shall select a mediator or an arbitrator within 3 days from a list submitted by the parties. If a mediator is selected, the mediator shall conduct a mediation session with the parties within 14 days of his/her selection. If an arbitrator is selected, the arbitrator shall conduct a hearing within 14 days of his/her selection. If a mediator is selected, the mediator shall strive to reach a consensus consistent with the contents of the innovation plan developed by the applicant, and then notify the Commissioner of that resolution. If an arbitrator is selected, the arbitrator's decision shall be consistent with the contents of the innovation plan developed by the applicant. The arbitrator shall, within 14 days of the close of the hearing, submit a decision to the parties and the Commissioner that shall be final and binding on the parties. The costs of the mediation or arbitration shall be borne by the parties.
M.G.L. c. 69, § 1B; c. 69, §§ 1J and 1K, as amended by St. 2010, c. 12, § 3; c. 71, § 38G.