|For Immediate Release|
|Tuesday, February 16, 2016|
|Contact:||Jacqueline Reis, 781-338-3115|
Commissioner to Recommend Two New Charter Schools and 1,500+ New Seats in Existing Charters
Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to vote February 23
MALDEN - Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester today announced that he is recommending that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education grant charters to groups seeking to open new charter schools in Springfield and Brockton and approve expansion plans at five existing charter schools, including four in Boston.
At the Board's February 23, 2016 meeting, Commissioner Chester will recommend approval of the Libertas Academy Charter School, which would serve 630 students in grades 6-12 in Springfield, and the New Heights Charter School of Brockton, which would serve 735 students in grades 6-12. New Heights would try to draw students from Brockton, Randolph and Taunton, although regional charters can accept students from anywhere in the state.
Libertas hopes to open in 2017 and serve 90 sixth-grade students during its first year. New Heights hopes to open in 2016 and serve 315 students in grades 6-8 during its first year of operation.
"These two applications and five expansions have undergone a thorough review, and I believe they will provide families with additional high-quality education options," said Commissioner Chester. "I appreciate all applicants' interest in serving Massachusetts students."
As part of the 2015-16 charter school application cycle, ESE received 10 prospectuses to open new charter schools in Massachusetts. Commissioner Chester invited the founders of six of those groups to submit final applications. Of those six finalists in this year's application cycle, one applicant group declined to submit a final application, and another applicant group withdrew their application prior to their interview with ESE in early January.
Two finalists did not receive a favorable recommendation: the International Academy of Montachusett Charter School, which would have served the Fitchburg area, and the Old Sturbridge Academy Charter Public School, which would have served the Sturbridge area. The founders of those groups will receive feedback from ESE.
In addition to considering whether to award new charters, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will also consider whether to grant expansion requests to several schools. The Department received requests from 22 schools to change their maximum enrollment or grades served, including 14 requests from charter schools in Boston. In January, the Board approved a request from South Shore Charter Public School to expand from 610 students to 1,075 students. This month, Commissioner Chester is recommending that the Board approve five schools' requests. All five are increasing enrollment and adding grades to become K-12 schools, including three charter schools that hope to consolidate into a single K-12 school. The commissioner is recommending that the Board approve the following expansion requests:
- The Pioneer Charter School of Science, which is in Everett and which serves a region that also includes Chelsea and Revere, hopes to add 420 new students and grades K-6 to its current 7-12 program of 360 students. The expanded school would serve up to 780 students in grades K-12.
- The Neighborhood House Charter School in Boston hopes to add 428 new students and grades 9-12 to its current pre-K-8 program that serves 400 students. If approved, the expanded school would serve up to 828 students in grades pre-K-12.
- The three Brooke charter schools in Boston – BCS Roslindale, BCS Mattapan and BCS East Boston – have requested consolidation into a single regional Brooke Charter School and the addition of 691 students and grades 9-12 to the three K-8 schools that are currently authorized to serve a combined 1,530 students. Each of the three K-8 campuses would remain open, and Brooke would add a single high school. If approved, Brooke Charter School would serve up to 2,221 students in grades K-12.
More information on the charter application and amendment process, final applications and proposed expansions is available online. For more information on charter schools in general, see http://www.doe.mass.edu/charter.