November 23, 2018
HADLEY -- The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is taking public comments on the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School's third expansion request.
The comment period is open until Dec. 3.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has twice denied the school's requests to expand. This time, the school's trustees are asking that the school be allowed to increase maximum enrollment to 952 kindergarten through 12th grade students. Last time, the school sought to expand to 1,036.
It is one of five expansion requests the board is considering statewide.
The board, according to its website, doesn't plan to consider the expansion requests before its Jan. 22, 2019, meeting and anticipates completing the process by its Feb. 12, 2019 meeting.
Comments can be set to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, c/o Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148 or by email to .
According to the letter sent to the board this summer seeking expansion, the Chinese school's trustees are asking "to make this change to satisfy persistent unmet demand for Kindergarten seats, expand opportunity and choice for urban, suburban and rural students to attend desegregated/integrated public schools, and increase the integration of staffing in public education."
They would expand from two to four kindergarten classrooms. According to the letter, the school had 69 applications for the 44 additional kindergarten seats requested at that time.
Local school districts have repeatedly opposed the expansion requests, as has state senator-elect Jo Comerford.
School officials have said the request would drain funds from local public schools.
The charter school serves students in more than 30 area communities.