Requests for Commissioner Approval and Waiver requests related to Innovation Schools per 603 CMR 48.03(3) and 48.03(4)
|To:||Innovation School Applicants, Superintendents, and School Committees|
|From:||Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner|
|Date:||August 2, 2010|
Chapter 12 of the Acts of 2010, An Act Relative to the Achievement Gap, was signed into law on January 18, 2010, and took effect immediately. Among other things, this legislation created a new statute, M.G.L. c. 71, § 92, establishing and governing innovation schools. At its July 21, 2010, meeting, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) adopted new regulations, 603 CMR 48.00, to implement this statute. Although the innovation school approval process as outlined in statute is conducted entirely at the local level, this memorandum provides additional information to innovation school applicants, superintendents, and school committees regarding two sections of the regulations - 603 CMR 48.03(3) and 48.03(4) - that involve state oversight. Section 48.03(3) permits an innovation plan committee to seek approval from the Commissioner for any provision in the plan that may conflict with state laws governing other public schools. Section 48.03(4) permits an innovation plan committee to request the Board to waive any provision of 603 CMR 48.00 for good cause.
If an innovation plan committee determines that Commissioner approval or a waiver under the respective regulations may be necessary in order to effectively implement an innovation plan, the innovation plan committee should submit the following documents listed below to the Department's Office of School Redesign, with a copy to the district's superintendent and school committee:
- For Commissioner approval under 603 CMR 48.03(3), a letter listing the provisions contained in the innovation plan that may conflict with state law governing other public schools; a specific legal citation for each state law or regulation that poses a conflict and therefore requires Commissioner approval; and a detailed explanation for why approval is necessary to advance the mission or educational programs of the innovation school.
- For waiver requests under 603 CMR 48.03(4), a letter listing the provisions in 603 CMR 48.00 that require a waiver, and a detailed explanation of why each waiver is necessary to advance the mission or educational programs of the innovation school.
- For all requests, the most recent draft of the proposed innovation plan.
In order to ensure that the Department has sufficient time to review and process these requests for Commissioner approval and waiver, we strongly recommend that these documents be submitted at least 45 days before the date of the local school committee meeting at which the innovation plan committee intends to present the innovation plan for approval. Please note that waiver requests under 603 CMR 48.03(4) require Board approval and therefore may require additional time to accommodate the Board's monthly meeting schedule.
For questions and assistance regarding the innovation school waiver process, please contact Cliff Chuang in the Office of School Redesign at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-338-3588.