New year, new charter school application season in Massachusetts.

Applications for New Charter Schools

Leading off the season his is just one new charter school application was submitted prior to the July 31 deadline: 

Proposed School District or Region Proposed Grade Span Proposed Maximum Enrollment Opening Year 
Hopewell Academy Charter Public School Taunton K-4 250 2022-2023 

The Executive Director of the proposed charter school is Thomas Quigley, former principal of the Hopewell School in the Taunton Public Schools. In the initial application submitted to the DESE in July, Mr. Quigley identifies three “key components” of the proposed school: 

  • The Bradley ELA program 
  • Saturday School 
  • Focus on attendance 

The Commissioner is expected to decide in September if this applicant will be invited to submit a final application. The BESE will discuss the schedule for the charter school application process at the September or October meeting.  

In previous years, the final applications have been due in late October with a hearing scheduled before January. If the Commissioner recommends approval of the final application, the BESE is expected to vote on the recommendation in February 2021. 

In the three charter school application cycles since the fall of 2016, 10 new charter applications have been submitted and only one has been approved. 

Amendments to existing charter schools

Charter school applications for amendments, including two expansion proposals, are provided in the following table: 

School Name Chartered Grade Span Current Max Enroll Current Charter Region Amendment Request 
Holyoke Community Charter School K-8 702 Holyoke Amend charter region to include Chicopee 
Lawrence Family Development Charter School PK-8 800 Lawrence Increase enrollment to 1,000 (+200 seats) 
Lowell Community Charter Public School PK-8 800 Lowell Increase enrollment to 815 (+15 seats) 
Marblehead Community Charter Public School 4-8 230 Marblehead Amend charter region to include  
Nahant and Swampscott 
Prospect Hill Academy Charter School PK-12 1,200 Cambridge, Somerville Amend charter region to include Chelsea, Everett, Revere, Waltham, Watertown, and Woburn 

The amendment requests to expand the charter region are related to enrollment limits for these schools. A charter region designation allows a school to give enrollment preference to students from communities in the region. If not a designated as a regional charter, the school cannot enroll more than 20% of its students from communities outside of where it is located. Amending the charter to become a regional charter solves this issue for schools that are already exceeding the 20% limit. 

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