|For Immediate Release|
|Wednesday, February 25, 1998|
Massachusetts Approves New Charter Schools
Malden - The Massachusetts Board of Education today voted to grant eight new charters to Commonwealth Charter Schools, and four charters to new Horace Mann Schools.
The eight new Commonwealth Charters are in Boston, Malden, Plymouth, Foxboro, Barnstable and Worcester. The four Horace Mann Schools are in Boston, Springfield and Barnstable. Of the eight Commonwealth Charters, six will open in September serving 2,150 students in their first year. Of the four Horace Mann Schools, three will open in September serving 445 students.
The eight Commonwealth Charters awarded are: Conservatory Lab Charter School, Boston, grades K-5; Foxboro International Regional Charter School, Foxboro, grades K-12; Mystic Valley Advantage Regional Charter School, Malden, grades K-9; Rising Tide Charter School, Plymouth grades 5-8; Roxbury College Preparatory Charter School, Boston, grades 5-10; South Boston Harbor Academy Charter School, Boston, grades 5-12; Sturgis Charter School, Barnstable, grades 9-12; and Worcester Advantage Charter School, Worcester, grades K-9.
The four Horace Mann Charters awarded are: Barnstable Charter School, Barnstable, grade 5; Boston Evening Academy Charter School, Boston grades 9-12; Health Careers Academy Charter School, Boston, grades 9-12; and the New Leadership Charter School, Springfield, grades 7-11.
"I am pleased with the charters approved, and the rigorous process by which applications were considered," said Commissioner of Education Robert V. Antonucci. "These are additional public school choices for parents, and they will be held to the same high standards of performance as the other 1800 public schools," he added.
The Board voted to consider appeals from the 19 Commonwealth charter and five Horace Mann charter applications that were not recommended for approval, and to vote on April 9 whether or not to grant any additional charters this year.
Charter schools began operating in Massachusetts in 1995, and 24 are currently open. In 1997, the legislature passed and the Governor signed a bill allowing the expansion of the cap on charter schools. Up to 37 Commonwealth Charter Schools are permitted under current Massachusetts law. Up to 13 Horace Mann Schools are also authorized. The Horace Mann Schools differ from the traditional charter schools in that they require approval not only by the State Board of Education, but also by the local school committee and teacher's union. The Commonwealth Charters need only the approval of the State Board of Education.
In November, forty-eight applications were received for Commonwealth charters, and thirteen others applied for new Horace Mann charters. The applications were evaluated by panels of teachers, school leaders, and representatives from higher education and the Department of Education. Commissioner Antonucci and members of the Board of Education reviewed the proposals, and selected thirty-six finalists in December. All of the 36 finalists submitted additional application materials in January. After further close review, including a rigorous peer evaluation, three public hearings, evaluation by school district superintendents, and interviews, eight Commonwealth Charter Schools and four Horace Mann Charter Schools were recommended for approval to the Board by Commissioner Antonucci.