Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)
|For Immediate Release|
|Tuesday, February 23, 2016|
|Contact:||Jacqueline Reis, 781-338-3115|
Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Approves Two New Charter Schools and 1,500+ New Seats in Existing Charters
MALDEN - The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education today voted 8-2 to approve a new charter school in Springfield and 7-3 to approve a new charter school in Brockton and, in other votes, approved expansion plans at five existing charter schools, including four in Boston.
The Board approved Libertas Academy Charter School, which will serve 630 students in grades 6-12 in Springfield, and the New Heights Charter School of Brockton, which will serve 735 students in grades 6-12. While all Commonwealth charters can accept students from anywhere in the state, Libertas will target enrollment of students from Springfield, and New Heights will target the enrollment of students from Brockton, Randolph and Taunton.
Libertas plans to open in fall 2017 and serve 90 sixth-grade students during its first year. New Heights plans to open in fall 2016 and serve 315 students in grades 6-8 during its first year of operation.
"Today's votes create additional high-quality options for Massachusetts families," said Secretary of Education James A. Peyser. "Congratulations to Libertas and New Heights on their strong applications and to each of the existing schools where expansions were approved."
"I recommended these charters and expansions on the basis of a thorough review, and I appreciate the Board's action. I am confident that today's votes will mean more high-quality options for students," said Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell D. Chester. "I look forward to Libertas and New Heights opening and to the seeing the growth approved today at other charters."
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.
In addition to considering whether to award new charters, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education also considered 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, the Board approved five schools' requests. All five are increasing enrollment and adding grades to become K-12 schools, including three charter schools that will consolidate into a single K-12 school. The Board approved the following expansion requests:
- The Pioneer Charter School of Science, which is in Everett and serves a region that also includes Chelsea and Revere, will add 420 new students and grades K-6 to its current 7-12 program of 360 students. The expanded school will serve up to 780 students in grades K-12.
- The Neighborhood House Charter School in Boston will add 428 new students and grades 9-12 to its current pre-K-8 program that serves 400 students. The expanded school will 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 – will consolidate into a single regional Brooke Charter School and add 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 will remain open, and Brooke will add a single high school. With the consolidation and expansion, Brooke Charter School will 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 Massachusetts Charter Schools.