|For Immediate Release|
|Tuesday, December 21, 2004|
|Contact:||Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106|
BOE Votes To Close Roxbury Charter High School In June
MALDEN - The Board of Education voted unanimously on Tuesday to revoke the Roxbury Charter High School’s charter as of June 30, 2005, citing grave financial and administrative concerns.
The school’s board of trustees now has 15 days to request an administrative hearing.
Board Chairman James Peyser said his objective is to ensure the students are best served, not to extend the school’s charter indefinitely.
“This is in the best interest of the students, but will require a significant amount of involvement by the Department of Education, the community and families to ensure the students get the best possible experience through the end of the year,” he said.
The vote allows Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll to require the school to take whatever actions he deems necessary to enable the school to finish out the academic year.
Driscoll had initially called for the school’s charter to be revoked immediately. But pledges of support for the school from parents, community leaders and legislators over the past week have convinced him that this is the better option for students, he said.
“People have really galvanized over this issue and I agree this is the right choice,” he said. “Our main interest is to make sure the school runs as well as possible through the end of the year, and that parents understand the reality of the situation and begin making decisions for their children.”
Driscoll’s initial recommendation was made based on evidence that the school is not financially viable and does not have a strong enough governance and administrative structure to provide sufficient oversight to the operations of the school.
The school received a Commonwealth charter in 2002 and opened in September, 2003. Their curriculum focus is on business, finance and entrepreneurship, and was chartered for grades 9 through 12, with a maximum of 400 students. It is currently in its second year, with an enrollment of 107, rather than the 175 projected on the school’s original growth plan.
Among the issues of concern:
- The school is experiencing significant cash flow problems, due in large part to the school not reaching its enrollment projections. Currently, the school is projecting a deficit of $177,000 for the current year, which could result in the school being forced to close its doors on its own accord later in the current school year.
- The school has no viable financial plan for addressing its facility needs. The school is currently leasing a former parochial school; the lease expires at the end of next year. If the school remains at this location, it will need to address significant ADA compliance issues as well as expand the facility to accommodate its planned enrollment.
- The school has had serious governance problems, leading DOE officials to conclude that the school’s Board of Trustees has not provided effective oversight to properly address the major issues facing the school.
- The school has failed to implement required procedures and programs relating to special education and English language immersion
- The school is not complying with state and federal requirements regarding student record keeping and documentation of Title I eligibility.