|For Immediate Release|
|Thursday, December 7, 1995|
Fitchburg Schools Receive Historic Rules Waiver
Malden - Massachusetts Education Commissioner Robert V. Antonucci granted the Commonwealth's first waiver of federal rules and regulations under the "Ed-Flex" program to the Fitchburg School District on Thursday, December 7, at Fitchburg (MA) High School.
Under this pilot program which is part of the Goals 2000 Act, states granted Ed-Flex status are given the authority to grant local school districts waivers from specified federal rules and regulations.
The Fitchburg waiver will be applied to the federal Title I regulations. Recent changes in criteria for Title I eligibility meant that three Fitchburg schools were no longer eligible for Title I funds. The teachers who had been providing those services had to be transferred to other Fitchburg schools, leaving more than 300 students without the additional assistance in math and reading they had been receiving. The waiver will allow Fitchburg to have eight Title I teachers return to those three schools to continue providing the reading and math services to the students they had been working with before the changes.
Massachusetts was granted Ed-Flex status by Secretary of Education Richard Riley in September, 1995. Ohio, Oregon and Kansas are the only other states to have been granted Ed-Flex status to date. A total of six states are eligible, of which three must be states with large populations, and three must be states with small populations.
"The spirit of Ed-Flex fits into the broader context of statewide educational improvement initiated by Massachusetts' Education Reform Act of 1993, in that it provides schools and districts with unprecedented flexibility, so long as they achieve improvements in learning and teaching," said Commissioner Antonucci.
School districts may apply for waivers from Title I (remedial education), Title 2 (professional development), Title 4 (Safe & Drug Free Schools & Communities), Title VI (innovative education, formerly Chapter 2), Part C of Title 7 (emergency immigration education) & the Carl B. Perkins Vocational & Applied Technology Act.
In the announcement, Commissioner Antonucci urged other Massachusetts districts to take advantage of the state's Ed-Flex authority.