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For Immediate Release
Monday, August 15, 2016
Contact:Jacqueline Reis 781-338-3115

6 Groups Seek to Open New Charter Schools, 12 Existing Schools Seek to Expand Enrollment

MALDEN - The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education received proposals this month from six groups seeking to open new charter schools as well as requests from twelve existing charter schools to serve more students.

The Department will decide by mid-September which applicant groups to invite to submit full proposals. The final applications will be due by November 1, 2016, and Commissioner Mitchell Chester will then decide which finalists to recommend to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for consideration in February 2017.

"Massachusetts has some of the strongest charter schools in the nation, and I am pleased that groups continue to be interested in opening and expanding schools here," said Commissioner Chester. "My agency will review these proposals carefully before deciding which ones should proceed to the next step."

Under current law, no more than 9 percent of a district's net school spending may be allocated to charter school tuition, except for the state's lowest performing districts, in which the cap on charter tuitions is up to 18 percent. Applicants seeking to create seats above the 9 percent threshold must demonstrate that they are "proven providers" with an established track record of strong performance, especially with regard to high-need students. The Board's first concern in considering whether to grant new charters and expansions will be the strength of each proposal, but were ESE and the Board to find that each of the applications below were of high quality, the current law governing charter school caps would prevent some of the applications from being approved.

The prospectuses that were submitted for consideration are:

Proposals to Start a New Commonwealth Charter SchoolDistrict or RegionsProposed Grade SpanProposed Maximum EnrollmentOpening Year
Collegiate Charter School of Pioneer ValleyChicopee, SpringfieldK–128702018
Equity Lab Charter SchoolLynn5–126402017
MAP Academy Charter SchoolPlymouth, Wareham, CarverCompetency-based high school model for students between the ages of 15 and 232502017
Old Sturbridge Academy Charter Public SchoolSouthbridge, Spencer-East Brookfield, Palmer, Webster, Sturbridge, Brimfield, Brookfield, Holland, Sturbridge, Wales, North Brookfield, MonsonK–83602017
The Entrepreneurial Village, a Commonwealth Charter SchoolBrockton, Stoughton, AvonK–53602018

Letter of Intent to Open an Additional SchoolRegionProposed Grade SpanProposed Maximum EnrollmentOpening Year
Hampden Charter School of Science IIHolyoke, Westfield, Agawam6–125602017

Requests to Expand an Existing Charter School by More than 100 Seats:

Existing Charter SchoolCurrent District or RegionsCurrent Grade SpanCurrent Maximum EnrollmentProposed Amendment to Charter
Boston Preparatory Charter Public SchoolBoston6–12400Increase maximum enrollment by 225 seats
Foxborough Regional Charter School Attleboro, Avon, Brockton, Canton, Easton, Foxborough, Mansfield, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Norfolk, North Attleboro, Norton, Norwood, Plainville, Sharon, Stoughton, Walpole, West Bridgewater, and WrenthamK–121,300Increase maximum enrollment by 400 seats
Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy Charter Public SchoolBoston6–8216Increase maximum enrollment by 275, add grades 5 and 9–12
KIPP Academy Boston Public Charter SchoolBostonK–8588Increase maximum enrollment by 225 seats
Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter SchoolAgawam, Amherst, Amherst-Pelham, Belchertown, Chesterfield-Goshen, Chicopee, Conway, Deerfield, East Longmeadow, Easthampton, Frontier, Gill-Montague, Granby, Granville, Greenfield, Hadley, Hampden-Wilbraham, Hampshire, Hatfield, Hawlemont, Holyoke, Leverett, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Mohawk Trail, Northampton, Pelham, Pioneer Valley, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Southampton, Springfield, Sunderland, West Springfield, Westfield, Westhampton, Whately, Williamsburg, Southwick-TollandK–12584Increase maximum enrollment by 560 seats
Veritas Prep Charter SchoolSpringfield5–8324Increase maximum enrollment by 540 seats

Several other existing charter schools applied to add fewer than 100 seats. Those schools are: Alma del Mar Charter School in New Bedford, Boston Collegiate Charter School, Bridge Boston Charter School, City on a Hill Charter Public School Dudley Square in Boston, City on a Hill Charter Public School Circuit Street in Boston, and Sturgis Charter Public School in Hyannis.

When deciding whether to allow a school to amend its charter to expand, the commissioner and Board consider evidence regarding the success of the school's academic program, its organizational viability, its faithfulness to the terms of its charter, and the availability of existing seats under current caps.

The commissioner and Board will consider comments solicited from the superintendents within each charter schools' proposed district or region. Members of the public may also submit written comments regarding a school's expansion request to: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, c/o Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148 or by email to charterschools@doe.mass.edu. Comments on proposed new schools will be solicited during the final application stage.

There are currently 81 charter schools in Massachusetts, serving over 40,000 students from over 240 different cities and towns, just over 4 percent of all public school students in the Commonwealth. As announced in June, there are about 32,600 students on charter school wait lists.

For more information on charter schools, visit Massachusetts Charter Schools webpage.

For a copy of a prospectus or expansion request, please send an email to charterschools@doe.mass.edu.

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Last Updated: August 15, 2016
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