Charter Schools FY 23: New proposal, expansions and renewals.

One application for a new charter school is moving forward. Public comment is open on applications to renew the charter agreements for 19 existing charter schools and three requests to expand existing charter schools. There isn’t much information to read on the DESE website so we will try to help them out by posting the updates here.

New Charter School Proposals

Three organizations originally submitted letters of intent to open new charter schools by the August 1, 2022 deadline. Final applications were due to DESE on November 1, 2022.

Only one application is moving forward in the process – the Worcester Cultural Academy Charter School.

Proposed District/RegionProposed EnrollmentProposed Grade Span
Worcester Cultural Academy Charter School
Initial Letter
Final Application
Worcester540K-8

Public Hearing

Worcester for the proposed Worcester Cultural Academy Charter Public School will take place on Friday, December 9 from 4 pm – 6 pm

The public hearing will be held at the Hebert Auditorium, Surprenant Building, Quinsigamond Community College, 670 West Boylston Street, Worcester

Written comments should be submitted by Wednesday, January 4, 2023 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 charterschools@doe.mass.edu .

More information about the hearing is also available here.

The Commissioner may make a final decision at or after the February 2023 BESE meeting.

Unsuccessful ProposalsProposed District/RegionProposed EnrollmentProposed Grade Span
Apollo Charter School
Initial Letter
Not invited to submit a final application by DESE
TBD (Chelsea or Lawrence?)500Grade 8 only
Pioneer Valley Central Massachusetts Chinese Immersion Charter School
Initial Letter
Not eligible for charter
Worcester, Shrewsbury, Northborough, Southborough, West Boylston, Boylston, Holden, Sterling616K-12

Amendments to Existing Charter Schools

Three charter schools submitted requests to expand their current charters to add additional communities to the existing region or add additional grade levels to the school.

The Map Academy Charter School does not currently have any students on the waitlist for enrollment.

The Mystic Valley Regional Charter School currently claims to have 1,609 students on their waitlist for enrollment. Addition Woburn to the charter region for the school does not guarantee any students from Woburn would be enrolled in the school.

The Old Sturbridge Academy Charter Public School is seeking to add an addition 420 seats by expanding into the high school level. Public comments on the proposed expansion were due October 18. Once a copy of the comments are available, we will add them to the chart below.

BESE is planning to discuss these proposals at the November 15, 2022 at a future meeting and potentially vote on the proposed expansions at the February 28, 2023 meeting.

Comments may be submitted 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 charterschools@doe.mass.edu .

   Current District or RegionGrade SpanMaximum EnrollmentProposed Amendment to CharterPublic Comment Deadline
Map Academy Charter SchoolCarver, Plymouth, and Wareham9–12300Add Bourne, Marshfield, Middleborough, Pembroke, and Silver Lake to charter regionDecember 1, 2022
Mystic Valley Regional Charter SchoolEverett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Stoneham, and WakefieldK–121,900Add Woburn to charter regionDecember 1, 2022
Old Sturbridge Academy Charter Public School
UPDATE: Commissioner Riley has declined to recommend the charter amendment request.
Brimfield, Brookfield, Holland, Monson, North Brookfield, Palmer, Southbridge, Spencer-East Brookfield, Sturbridge, Tantasqua, Wales, and WebsterK–8360Add grades 9–12 and increase enrollment by 420 seatsOctober 18, 2022

Applications to Renew for Existing Charter Schools

All charter schools are required to submit annual reports and apply to renew their charter every five years. The SY2023 cohort of charter school renewals includes two schools who are also seeking to amend the geographic region of their charters (Map and Mystic Valley, as noted above).

BESE is planning to discuss the applications to renew at either the January 24, 2023 meeting or the February 28, 2023 meeting.

While DESE is only formally calling for written comments from the superintendents in the sending districts, we are not going to discourage anyone who is not a superintendent from submitting written comments.

Comments may be submitted by December 1, 2022 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 charterschools@doe.mass.edu .

Current District or RegionChartered Maximum EnrollmentChartered Grade Span
Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public SchoolAuburn, Leicester, Millbury, Oxford, Shrewsbury, Sutton, West Boylston, Worcester, and Wachusett Regional1,426K–12
Baystate Academy Charter Public SchoolSpringfield5606–12
Boston Collegiate Charter SchoolBoston7005–12
Boston Day and Evening Academy Horace Mann Charter SchoolBoston5059–12
Collegiate Charter School of LowellLowell1,200K–12
Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers Horace Mann Charter SchoolBoston4489–12
Excel Academy Charter SchoolBoston and Chelsea1,4005–12
Four Rivers Charter Public SchoolFrontier, Gill-Montague, Greenfield, Mohawk Trail, Pioneer Valley, and Ralph C. Mahar2207–12
Foxborough Regional Charter SchoolAttleboro, Avon, Brockton, Canton, Easton, Foxborough, Mansfield, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Norfolk, North Attleboro, Norton, Norwood, Plainville, Sharon, Stoughton, Walpole, West Bridgewater, and Wrentham1,700K–12
Hampden Charter School of Science WestAgawam, Holyoke, West Springfield, and Westfield5886–12
Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy Charter Public SchoolBoston2166–8
Map Academy Charter SchoolCarver, Plymouth, and Wareham3009–12
Mystic Valley Regional Charter SchoolEverett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Stoneham, and Wakefield1,900K–12
Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter SchoolChicopee, Holyoke, South Hadley, and West Springfield3209–12
Phoenix Academy Public Charter High School, LawrenceHaverhill, Lawrence, and Methuen2509–12
Pioneer Charter School of Science IIDanvers, Lynn, Peabody, Salem, and Saugus858K–12
Rising Tide Charter Public SchoolBarnstable, Bourne, Carver, Duxbury, Falmouth, Freetown-Lakeville, Marshfield, Mashpee, Middleborough, Old Rochester, Pembroke, Plymouth, Sandwich, Silver Lake, and Wareham7005–12
Sturgis Charter Public SchoolBarnstable, Bourne, Carver, Dennis-Yarmouth, Falmouth, Mashpee, Monomoy Regional, Nauset, Plymouth, Provincetown, Sandwich, and Wareham8509–12
UP Academy Charter School of DorchesterBoston750PK–8

All applications to expand, renew and open new charter schools in Massachusetts are submitted to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. There is open discussion on each step of the process at Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meetings but many of the initial proposals and invitations for public comment seem to be happening behind closed doors.

Public comment and participation is not only good practice; it is required by MA G.L. Chapter 71, Section 89. We will update this page with documents, events and key votes as the details become available.

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