2010The State Inspector General says the charter approved by the state for the planned Gloucester Community Arts Charter School “should be deemed void.”Government and Public Service, State Government, Education

Because the state’s charter school office determined the school application didn’t meet criteria for a charter, the IG report declared that State Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester had no authority to recommend it, and so the Board had no authority to approve it. The report noted prior to the Gloucester case, the BESE had never awarded a charter to an applicant group that the CSO had not recommended for approval “based upon a criteria-based determination.”

The process had come into question in part from the revelation of a memo from Paul Reville, the Governor’s Education Secretary, to Chester indicating that, while the Gloucester charter application may have been a “bitter pill” to swallow, he and the board needed to approve it as a means of advancing the Governor’s “agenda” on education reform.

Despite the Inspector General’s report of procedural failures, the state’s House of Representatives denied a bid by Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, supported by Gov. Deval Patrick, to void a charter awarded to the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education declared that it did not have legal grounds to revoke the charter.

Gloucester Daily Times. "Update: IG tells Gov. to 'void' local school charter." January 2, 2010. Anderson, Patrick. "House KOs bid to kill charter - Ferrante amendments fail; IG vows continued probe." Gloucester Daily Times. January 8, 2010. Anderson, Patrick. "State board won't revisit school charter." Gloucester Daily Times. January 8, 2010.
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