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Massachusetts Charter Schools

For Immediate Release
Monday, September 25, 2017
Contact:Jacqueline Reis 781-338-3115

Founders of Two Proposed Charter Schools to Submit Full Applications

MALDEN - The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education today invited the founders of a proposed Commonwealth charter school and the leaders of an existing charter school network to move to the next stage of the 2017-2018 charter school application process and submit a full application for the new charter schools they have proposed.

"I look forward to seeing more details about these two proposals in the coming weeks and hearing from the communities that they would serve," Acting Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Wulfson said.

Final applications are due back to ESE by November 1, 2017. Once the agency receives the applications, ESE staff and external review panelists with expertise in education, business, law and governance will review and evaluate the proposals. In addition, ESE will hold public hearings in the areas where the founding groups propose to open a school. The Department will also conduct a review of any public comment submitted. Acting Commissioner Wulfson will then review all of the materials and make his recommendation to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education if he believes one or both of the proposals should receive a charter. The Board will vote at its February 2018 meeting.

In August 2017, three applicant groups submitted prospectuses in the hopes of opening a new charter school, and the board of trustees of the Phoenix Academy Public Charter High Schools submitted a letter of intent to apply for an additional charter. The Phoenix trustees already operate two charter schools, so they were required to submit a letter of intent, not a prospectus, at that stage in the process. (The Phoenix trustees oversee the Phoenix Academies in Chelsea and Springfield, two regional Commonwealth charter schools serving students in grades 9-12.)

The applicant groups invited to submit full applications are:

Name of Proposed Charter SchoolDistrict or RegionProposed Grade SpanProposed Maximum EnrollmentOpening Year
Equity Lab Charter SchoolLynn5-126402018
Phoenix Academy Public Charter High School, LawrenceLawrence, Haverhill and Methuen9-122502018

Equity Lab proposes to have an 8.5-hour school day and focus on project-based learning, and Phoenix Academy Lawrence would serve students who have dropped out or who are at risk for doing so.

Many communities still have room for new charter school seats under existing caps, which limit the amount of net school spending a school district can spend on charter school tuition. The two proposals that are moving to the next step would be in communities that are still below their caps.

The Department will announce the schedule of public hearings on the proposals after receiving the full applications.

Commonwealth charter schools are fully autonomous and operate independently of the local school district. Charter schools are open to all Massachusetts students, with enrollment preference given to students in the district or region where the school is located. There are 80 operating charter schools in Massachusetts, and they collectively serve more than 40,000 students. For more information, visit Massachusetts Charter Schools.

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Last Updated: September 25, 2017
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