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For Immediate Release
Friday, February 13, 2009
Contact:Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106 or JC Considine 781-338-3112

Commissioner to Recommend Board Grant Charter for Gloucester Arts School

MALDEN - Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester will recommend that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education grant a new charter to a group seeking to open an arts-focused charter school in Gloucester, and base its start date on the community's fiscal conditions.

Chester plans to recommend in late February that the Board approve a new charter for the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School, which is proposed to serve up to 240 Gloucester residents in grades K-8. As part of the approval, Chester will recommend the Board tie the school's start date to whether Gloucester is receiving enough state school aid to reach foundation level.

"I am fully aware of the extraordinary fiscal circumstances our Commonwealth is facing right now, and took that into consideration in making my decision," Chester said. "For this reason I am conditioning the school's opening on the state meeting its fiscal obligation to the district next year."

The school will offer both a strong academic curriculum, and the opportunity for all students to participate in one "special" class each day, including physical education, art, music, dance and drama. The school is slated to open for grades 4-7 in 2010, and to expand to full capacity by 2012.

"This is an interesting proposal for a school in a community well-known for its appreciation of and contribution to the arts," Chester said. "Their focus represents a careful blending of both academics and the arts. I look forward to seeing this school open its doors and thrive."

The Gloucester application was one of seven prospectuses the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education received last August, and its founders were one of three applicant groups invited to submit final applications last November. The other two proposals were for the Rediscovery Academy Charter School in Waltham, and the Spirit of Knowledge Academy Charter School in Worcester.

All three proposals have gone through a multi-step review process that included public hearings, panel reviews, a lengthy public comment process and in-person interviews.

After careful review of the findings, Commissioner Chester has decided not to recommend approval of the Waltham or Worcester charter schools. Founders of both schools will receive feedback on their applications and are invited to reapply in the 2009-2010 application cycle.

Chester will make his recommendation to the Board at their meeting on February 24.



Last Updated: February 13, 2009
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