|For Immediate Release|
|Tuesday, February 23, 2010|
|Contact:||Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106 or JC Considine 781-338-3112|
Recommendation Pulled for Lynn Charter School
Commissioner Reaffirms Support for Application, Cites Legal Concerns
MALDEN - Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester pulled his recommendation that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) grant a charter to a proposed charter school in Lynn this morning, due to questions that have been raised about the legality of one component in the school's application.
The founders of the proposed Lynn Preparatory Charter School are the co-founders of the Hathaway School, an independent, pre K-grade 5 school currently operating in Swampscott. According to their application, they intended to close the private school if the charter was granted. State law prohibits the conversion of a private school to a publicly-funded charter school.
Commissioner Chester noted that the Board has never faced this situation before, and was uncomfortable moving forward on his recommendation until guidelines can be established to determine how to handle this type of application. At the same time, he reaffirmed his support for the merits of the application.
"I don't want to set a precedent here, and provide an avenue for existing private schools to change their funding model," he said. "At the same time, we want to make it possible for individuals previously involved in private schools to participate in the development of new charter schools. This is not a no-go, but until we can establish some rules to better define this distinction, I am not comfortable making this recommendation."
The founders of the Lynn Preparatory Charter School will be eligible to resubmit their application in the 2010-2011 charter school application cycle.
This application was one of two the Board was scheduled to vote at their monthly meeting today. The Board voted 6-2 to grant a charter to the Spirit of Knowledge Charter School (SOKCS) in Worcester. One Board member abstained from the vote and two were not present.
The school's curriculum will be based on high-standards academic learning, subject-specific, multi-year courses that span grades 7-12, and a focus on intensive math, science, and technology. SOKCS plans to open for grades 7-9 with an enrollment of 156 students in fall 2010, and will expand to full capacity in its fourth year.