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Massachusetts Charter Schools

For Immediate Release
Monday, August 1, 2011
Contact:Contact: JC Considine 781-338-3112

7 Groups Submit New Charter School Prospectuses

MALDEN - The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education today announced that it has received 7 prospectuses from groups hoping to ultimately win approval to open new charter schools.

By mid-September, the Department will notify founding groups whose prospectuses show the most promise to encourage them to submit a full application. Full applications will be due on November 7, 2011. The Department along with external panels of individuals with expertise in education, business, legal, and organizational structure will then review and evaluate those final applications. After Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester makes his recommendations on the final applications, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will vote to award new charters at its February 28, 2012 regular meeting.

The 2011-2012 prospectuses include 5 proposals to open Commonwealth charter schools and 2 proposals to open Horace Mann charter schools. Commonwealth charter schools are fully autonomous and operate independently of the local school district. Horace Mann charter schools are developed and operated in close cooperation with the host school district, and require approval of the local school committee. Charter schools are open to all Massachusetts students, with enrollment preference given to students in the district or region where the school is located.

In February 2011, the Board voted to award 16 new charters, which represented the highest number of charters granted in a single year. Last year's increased activity including the submission of 42 prospectuses and ultimate approval of 16 final applications was driven by a lifting of the cap on district net school spending authorized under the landmark education reform law that Governor Patrick signed into law in January 2010. That law raised the cap on district net school spending for funding of charter schools from 9 percent to a maximum of 18 percent through incremental steps (beginning with a move to 12 percent in 2011 followed by one percent annual increases reaching to 18). The cap lift only applies to districts with academic performance in the lowest 10 percent as measured by MCAS, and applicants under the cap lift must have a proven track record of success in increasing academic attainment and commit to working with a diverse population of students.

The 2011-2012 proposals that were submitted for consideration are:

Commonwealth Charter School ProspectusesDistrict or RegionOpening YearGradesProposed Maximum Enrollment
Baystate Academy Charter SchoolSpringfieldTBD6-12560
Collegiate Charter School of LowellLowell2013K-121,200
Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter SchoolHolyoke, West Springfield, Chicopee, Westfield, South Hadley, Northampton20129-12500
Springfield Preparatory Charter SchoolSpringfield20125-121,070
Somerville Progressive Charter SchoolSomerville2012K-8425

Horace Mann Charter School ProspectusesDistrict or RegionOpening YearGradesProposed Maximum Enrollment
Dudley Street Neighborhood SchoolBoston2012K1-5320
UP Academy Charter School Boston IIBoston2012K1-5700



Last Updated: August 1, 2011
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