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Education Laws and Regulations

603 CMR 50.00
Educational Collaboratives

Section:
50.01:
50.02:
50.03:
50.04:
50.05:
50.06:
50.07:
50.08:
50.09:
50.10:
50.11:
50.12:
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50.03: Department Approval

(1) Forming an Educational Collaborative: Two or more school committees of cities, towns, and regional school districts and charter school boards may establish an educational collaborative by entering into a collaborative agreement in accordance with M.G.L. c. 40, § 4E. The collaborative agreement shall be submitted to the Department for approval as outlined in 603 CMR 50.03 and in guidelines issued by the Department.

(2) Existing Collaboratives: Each educational collaborative in existence as of March 2, 2012 shall amend its collaborative agreement to comply with the provisions of M.G.L. c. 40, § 4E and 603 CMR 50.00. The process for amending the collaborative agreement shall comply with the provisions of the existing collaborative agreement, provided, however, that the amended collaborative agreement must be approved by all of the member districts. The amended collaborative agreement must be submitted to the Department for approval no later than March 4, 2013. An educational collaborative in existence as of March 2, 2012 that submits its amended collaborative agreement to the Department in accordance with this section may continue operating under its existing agreement until the Board approves the amended agreement in accordance with 603 CMR 50.03(6).

(3) New Collaborative Agreements: No new educational collaborative may operate until the collaborative agreement created in accordance with M.G.L. c. 40, § 4E and 603 CMR 50.03 is approved by all of the member districts and the Board, upon recommendation of the Commissioner. A collaborative agreement shall be effective on July 1 of any fiscal year, provided that all requisite approvals, including the Board's approval, shall be obtained no later than the preceding April 30.

(4) Amending a Collaborative Agreement:

(a) All amendments to collaborative agreements shall be approved by the member districts in accordance with the collaborative agreement and shall comply with 603 CMR 50.03(5) and (6).
(b) All amendments for the admission and withdrawal of member districts shall comply with the following timeline.
  1. A school committee or charter school board may be admitted to, or an existing member district may withdraw from, an educational collaborative as of July 1 of any fiscal year, provided that all requisite approvals for such admission or withdrawal, including the Board's approval, shall be obtained no later than the preceding April 30. The authorizing votes may provide for the deferral of said admission or withdrawal until July 1 of a subsequent fiscal year.
  2. Following the approval for admission to an educational collaborative and continuing until the actual date of such admission, the school committee or charter school board may designate a non-voting representative to the collaborative board of directors.
(c) No amendment shall take effect until it is approved by the Board.

(5) Department's Review of a Collaborative Agreement or Amendment:

(a) A draft collaborative agreement or draft amendment to a collaborative agreement shall be submitted to the Department for initial review, prior to its approval by the member districts. The model agreement developed by the Department may be used as a guide.
(b) The collaborative agreement shall include the following:
  1. the mission, purpose, objectives and focus of the collaborative;
  2. the programs or services to be offered by the collaborative;
  3. the powers and duties of the collaborative board of directors to operate and manage the collaborative;
  4. the governance of the collaborative;
  5. the conditions of membership of the collaborative, which may include:
    1. minimum attendance requirements, including consequences for failure to attend meetings;
    2. consequences for failure of a member district to meet the terms of the collaborative agreement;
    3. consequences for failure to attend training as required by 603 CMR 50.05(3) and 50.12(3); and/or
    4. whether member districts will be assessed membership dues.
  6. the financial terms for member districts and non-member districts, including any non-member surcharge or fee;
  7. the detailed procedure for the preparation and adoption of an annual budget, tuition rates, membership dues and fees-for-service;
  8. timeline and process for amending the budget, tuition rates, membership dues and fees-for-service;
  9. the method and timeline for notification and payment of tuition, membership dues and fees-for-service;
  10. a limit, not to exceed 25 percent, on the amount of cumulative surplus that may be held by the collaborative at the end of a fiscal year;
  11. how and under what conditions surplus funds may be returned to member districts or credited to support collaborative programs and services offered to member districts and how such funds will be allocated to such member district(s) upon the withdrawal of a member district(s) or the termination of the collaborative;
  12. a procedure for the review and approval of any borrowing, loans, mortgages or acquisition of real property;
  13. the method of termination of the collaborative;
  14. the procedure for apportioning assets and liabilities upon the termination of the collaborative or the withdrawal of a member district;
  15. the procedure for the admission or withdrawal of member districts;
  16. the procedure for amending the collaborative agreement; and
  17. any other matter not incompatible with law which the member districts consider advisable.
(c) The Department shall review the draft collaborative agreement or amendment to ensure that it complies with M.G.L. c. 40, § 4E, 603 CMR 50.00, and any guidelines issued by the Department.
(d) When all changes are made to the draft collaborative agreement or amendment as required by the Department, the final collaborative agreement or amendment shall be submitted to the collaborative member districts for approval. Member districts shall not delegate the approval of a collaborative agreement to any other person or entity.

(6) Required Documentation for Board Approval:

(a) Once the collaborative agreement or amended collaborative agreement has been approved by the member districts in accordance with 603 CMR 50.03, it shall be submitted to the Commissioner for approval by the Board along with the following supplemental documentation:
  1. a notification and signature from the chair of each member district certifying as to the date the member district voted to approve the collaborative agreement;
  2. a current organizational chart with the administrative structure of the collaborative;
  3. the names and positions of current appointed representatives to the collaborative board of directors from each member district;
  4. the collaborative by-laws, as applicable;
  5. a detailed description of proposed programs and services for the current year;
  6. the current location(s) or planned location(s) of the collaborative program(s); and
  7. any other information as required by the Commissioner or Board to clarify the intent or purpose of the collaborative.
(b) The Board shall approve or disapprove a collaborative agreement or any amendment to such agreement, upon a recommendation by the Commissioner as to whether the collaborative agreement or amendment meets the standards in M.G.L. c. 40, § 4E and 603 CMR 50.00.

Regulatory Authority:
M.G.L. c. 69, §1B, and M.G.L. c. 40, § 4E



Last Updated: February 6, 2013
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