The state will hold a hearing about the proposed on Dec. 14, according to a press release from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
The group that applied to open the charter school, the Somerville Group for Progressive Education, seeks to open the school in September 2012, and by 2018 it could have 425 Somerville children in kindergarten through eighth grade.
You can read the Somerville Group for Progressive Education’s final application to the state, and about the group iteself, here.
The Dec. 14 hearing is from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in auditorium.
Each speaker will have three minutes to comment on the document.
There will be childcare and translators on hand, and the city’s cable channel will broadcast the hearing for those who can’t attend, according to a post by Somerville School Committee Chair, Adam Sweeting, on the Somerville-4-Schools listserv, a forum for parents to discuss education issues in the city.
At least one member of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will attend the hearing and summarize it for other members, according to the press release.
The board will also accept written statements through Jan. 3. Mail them to: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, c/o Charter School Office, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148; or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner, Mitchell Chester, will review the information gathered by the board and make a recommendation to either grant or refuse a five-year charter to the founding group. Finally, the board will take a vote at its Feb. 28, 2012 meeting.
The School Committee will speak against the proposal
Members of the Somerville Public Schools’ School Committee the opening of the Somerville Progressive Charter School at the hearing.
With regard to enrollment, committee member Teresa Cardoso, who put forward a motion in October to object to the charter school in writing, said the school poses "a threat to our numbers.”
Since then, the Somerville Public Schools’ administration has published a one-page sheet estimating the amount of state funding that could be diverted from the public schools to the charter school. Staff calculated that over five years, the public schools might lose $15,230,000. (See attached PDF.)
The loss of an additional $4,790,000 over five years in state aid through the Chapter 70 Program, the sheet states, could cause the district to lay off 75 teachers, close an elementary school and eliminate extracurricular activities.
Have questions about the Somerville Progressive Charter School? Attend a meeting at a meeting for English speakers Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, Dec. 1, at 9 a.m. at 26 Flint St., Somerville. The group will schedule meetings for non-English speakers shortly.