|For Immediate Release|
|Tuesday, January 27, 2009|
|Contact:||Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106 or JC Considine 781-338-3112|
Education Board Votes to Revoke Uphams Corner Charter
MALDEN - The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 6-2 on Tuesday to revoke the charter of Boston's Uphams Corner Charter School, citing unmet conditions and a steady decline in performance.
Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester recommended the school's charter be revoked at the Board's December meeting. The charter will be revoked as of June 30, 2009, allowing parents time to find placements for their children within the Boston Public Schools, a different charter school or elsewhere. School officials now have 15 days to request an administrative hearing if they wish to challenge the decision.
"This was not an easy decision, but it is a necessary one," said Board Chair Maura Banta. "As a Board it is our responsibility to make difficult decisions based on what is in the best interests of children. The simple fact is this school was not serving our children well."
Boston Superintendent Carol Johnson sent a letter to the families of Uphams Corner students in December, offering guidance in finding an appropriate placement for each child in a Boston public school.
"Every one of those students is welcome in the Boston Public Schools," Johnson said. "Transitions can be difficult, and we are prepared to do all that we can to help each child and family through this change."
The Boston charter school has been open since 2002 and currently serves 174 students in grades 5-8. The school was flagged as troubled during its charter renewal review in December 2006, and was renewed in January 2007 with conditions relating to school improvement and relocation of the school to Uphams Corner. According to an October 2008 review of the school conducted by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's charter school office, none of the conditions have been fully met.
According to the October report, the school has failed to meet any of the conditions imposed at renewal. The conditions included that:
- the school make Adequate Yearly Progress in 2008
- the school meet or make substantial progress toward meeting its accountability plan goals
- the school complete the fundraising and property acquisition needed to relocate to Uphams Corner by September 2009.
To date, the Board has revoked or not renewed the charters for four charter schools in Massachusetts: Youth Build Boston Charter School in 1997, Lynn Community Charter School in 2003, and Frederick Douglass Charter School and Roxbury Charter High School in 2005. Currently 61 charter schools are operating in the Commonwealth, serving more than 25,000 students. More than 20,000 are on waiting lists for enrollment.