BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 27, 2018 - We are pleased the Board chose to award a new charter to Phoenix Charter Academy in Lawrence and approve additional seats for Veritas Prep in Springfield. We also congratulate the four schools that received renewals.
Phoenix is no stranger to Lawrence, having operated a successful alternative high school under an agreement with the school system’s state-appointed Receiver. Phoenix will be able to transition to an independent Commonwealth charter and expand its programming to serve 250 students from Lawrence, Haverhill and Methuen. Veritas will be able to add 108 new seats to its highly successful middle school program in Springfield.
We are deeply disappointed that the Board chose not to award new seats in Lynn. Based on communications from the Department last May that new seats were available in Lynn, two applicants devoted hundreds of hours to apply, attend the public hearing, and to interview, and families in Lynn rallied to support the applications.
We have great respect for staff at the Department, but to make this change at the last minute, without any prior notice that it was possible, undermines the Department’s credibility and trust with the schools, staff, and families that invested themselves in the process. It is important that when schools apply they can have confidence that seats will be available - and that any risks that seats may disappear are disclosed upfront to schools.
We ask the Department and the Board to review how it creates the list of communities subject to the higher charter enrollment cap, and when it applies, to ensure the application process is predictable and consistent.