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Massachusetts Charter Schools

Information on Recent Revisions

To:Charter School Leaders
From:Mary Street, Charter School Office
Date:March 10, 2008

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DOE to ESE - The Big Change

Today is the day that the Department of Education (DOE) becomes the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE), through the same education reorganization legislation that has created an Executive Office of Education, run by a cabinet-level Secretary of Education, yet to be appointed. You will notice that email addresses for ESE will not change immediately, but correspondence will now have the new letterhead. The governor will also be announcing the appointment of new members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, additions made possible by the legislative change. The Secretary of Education will be serving on the boards of all three education agencies, while the Commissioners of those agencies will no longer be serving on each other's boards. The new Commissioner, Mitch Chester, will be starting on May 19th. Then in January of 2009 the entire agency will be moving to a new location in Malden. Many changes happening! If you have questions, please feel free to call.

ALERT – New Web Postings

  1. Application for Renewal
    The newly revised Application for Renewal is now posted on the DOE website at http://www.doe.mass.edu/charter/acct.html?section=renew. We will also be mailing hard copies to schools up for renewal in 2008/09. Applications must now follow the requirements in this document. We have tried hard to make the Application more clear and definitive. Many thanks to Clarus Group for their work on its preparation.

    The deadline for submission of the Application for Renewal is no later than August 1 after the school's fourth year of operation in its current charter term. We will not be able to conduct early inspections this spring, as has been the case in past years.

  2. Annual Report Guidelines
    The Annual Report Guidelines have also been revised for the 2007/08 year and are now posted at http://www.doe.mass.edu/charter/acct.html?section=annual. The submission deadline for annual reports is August 1, 2008. Waivers cannot be given for late submissions. Please note the accessibility requirements in the guidelines and be sure the school's annual report is accessible before submission. Much of the delay in posting annual reports to the ESE website in recent years has been a result of changes that had to be made after submission. Schools applying for renewal must also submit an annual report.

Governance "Clean-Up" for Renewal

We are also instituting a process for reviewing various governance-related items for each charter school as part of the renewal cycle. We encourage each school that is up for renewal in 2008-09 (and also 2009-10) to proactively assess whether amendments to the school's charter are necessary. Specifically, each school should check to see that its bylaws and enrollment policy comply with guidelines as indicated in the newly-revised Charter School Administrative and Governance Guide Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document (see next news item). Cliff Chuang is now coordinating amendments/governance-related matters.

Administrative and Governance Guide Trainings

We have scheduled two trainings intended for board members and school leaders in conjunction with the release of a newly-revised Charter School Administrative and Governance Guide Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document. There are many new faces in schools and on boards since the trainings were held several years ago. Please encourage board members to attend.

* Wednesday, April 16, 4-6 pm at the Department's offices in Malden at 350 Main Street, 3rd floor Board rooms.
* Tuesday, May 6, 4-6 pm at the Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem Square.

Topics to be covered include the Open Meeting Law (including use of executive sessions) and teacher representation on charter school boards, but see full details and register at http://www.doe.mass.edu/conference/?ConferenceID=478.

As always, please feel free to call 781-338-3227 if you have questions or email charterschools@doe.mass.edu.

Last Updated: March 14, 2008

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