|For Immediate Release|
|Wednesday, August 16, 2000|
|Contact:||Jonathan Palumbo, 781-338-3105|
Department of Education Encourages Applications for New Charter Schools, Holds Information Sessions
Malden - Applications are available for teachers, parents and members of the public to apply to open eight Commonwealth and fourteen Horace Mann charter schools. (The Pittsfield information session has been canceled).
The Department of Education will host two informational sessions for anyone interested in applying for new charters. The sessions will be held on Wednesday, August 23, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., at Berkshire Community College, Room G-10 of the Student Center in Pittsfield, and on Friday August 25, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., at the John W. McCormack Building, One Ashburton Place, 21st Floor, Room 3, in Boston.
Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll said, "Charter schools have been operating in Massachusetts for five years. These new public schools supply a unique learning environment and curriculum for the students they serve. The legislature has shown its confidence in charter schools by voting to increase the number of charters available in the Commonwealth. I encourage everyone considering opening a charter school to attend an information session to learn more about this exciting opportunity. We look forward to receiving a large number of promising applications."
Charter schools are independent public schools that have been operating in Massachusetts since September 1995. There are two types of Charter Schools: Commonwealth Charter Schools and Horace Mann Charter Schools. Charters are granted by the Massachusetts Board of Education. The schools have the freedom to organize around a core mission, curriculum, theme, or teaching method. They control their own budgets and hire (and fire) teachers and staff. In return for this freedom, a charter school needs to attract and retain students and produce positive results within five years or lose its charter.
In the 1999-00 school year, 38 charter schools (33 Commonwealth and 5 Horace Mann) were open, enrolling more than 12,000 students from more than 200 school districts. In September, three additional Commonwealth will open, and one Horace Mann charter will open in the fall of 2001. Statewide, at least 8,000 students are waiting to be enrolled in charter schools.