The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Update on Educational Collaboratives

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
December 7, 2012

At this month's meeting I will provide an update on our activities to implement chapter 43 of the acts of 2011, an act relative to improving accountability and oversight of education collaboratives. These activities include developing new regulations and a new model collaborative agreement; providing training to members of collaborative boards; participating in the Legislature's special commission to study the role of education collaboratives; and working closely with the Merrimack Special Education Collaborative to separate its operations from the non-profit Merrimack Education Center.

As you will recall, at the September 25, 2012, meeting, the Board voted to solicit public comment on the proposed regulations (603 CMR 50), with the expectation that we would bring them back for final adoption this month. We received a significant amount of public comment from a wide variety of individuals and organizations, including the Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives, the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, and the Office of the Inspector General. In some cases, we received differing viewpoints that needed to be weighed. Because of the importance of these reforms, I felt that it was important to take additional time to review the comments, make changes to the proposed regulations as appropriate, and provide feedback to our stakeholder groups on the status of their suggestions. As a result, I will be bringing the final recommendations to you at the January 29, 2013, Board meeting.

This added review time will improve the final product, but it will also result in an unavoidable delay in our releasing the model agreement and in implementing the new training activities. Under the statute, all collaboratives must amend their current agreements by March 4, 2013, to bring them into compliance with the new requirements. We are proceeding with the drafting of the model agreement in anticipation of your approval of the regulations in January. I will shortly be providing guidance to the collaboratives and their member school committees on what they will need to do to submit their amendments on a timely basis.

Jay Sullivan, Executive Director of School Finance and District Support, and Christine Lynch, Director of School Governance, are leading our work in this area and will join us for the discussion.