Friday, September 23, 2005

Let's Get Ready To Ruuuumble!!!

It looks like Boston Public is trying to put the Smackdown on Roxbury Charter's rebellion against The Machine: (emphasis added)
Attorney General Thomas Reilly filed a complaint Thursday against a Boston school that has refused to shut its doors despite an order from the state Board of Education, which revoked its charter license.

The former Roxbury Charter High Public School was ordered closed last week in a vote by the state Board of Education that upheld a December 2004 decision which said the school wasn't performing and must close. The move marked the first time the board had voted to revoke a charter school's license.

But in defiance of the board's order, the school opened earlier this month and has remained in session despite warnings from Reilly's office and the state Department of Education. The organization representing charter schools in Massachusetts also has appealed for Roxbury to shut its doors.

"They need to follow the same rules of accountability as everyone else. If the state says you must close, you must," said Dominic Slowey, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association.

Reilly's complaint, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, asks a judge to order school leaders to abide by the board's ruling and close the school. It also demands the school turn over to state education officials a list of the names, addresses and state assigned student identification numbers of the students presently attending the charter school.

"The school administrators and its trustees have had ample time to prepare for this," Reilly said in a statement. "Unfortunately, we now have kids and parents caught in the middle and that is why we have had to take action."

A school trustee said Roxbury is operating as a private school, not a charter school, and that it has every right to continue operating despite the action of the board.

Cornelius Chapman also said the school would be happy to seek the approval of the Boston School Committee to operate as a private school with private funding while the school waits to see whether the Superior Court will reinstate the revoked charter.

The school plans to appeal the board's decision in Suffolk Superior Court, Chapman said.

Education Department spokeswoman Heidi Perlman said the school is currently not operating as a private school and school leaders have not spoken to the Boston School Committee about becoming one.

"You can't just hang a shingle on the door and decide you're a school," Perlman said.

Charter schools are meant to be an alternative to regular public schools and are given more freedom to spend their money and teach students the way they want. The schools' charters are up for renewal every five years, but the state may revoke the charter at any time.

There are 57 charter schools in the state and two more have been approved, Slowey said.

Five charter schools have closed in Massachusetts. The state board refused to renew two charters, while the other three shut down on their own. Roxbury is the first to defy an order to close.

The state board had initially voted in December to revoke the school's charter, citing numerous problems including the school's near bankruptcy. It allowed the school to stay open the rest of the school year, pending an appeal to a hearing officer, which it lost.
This time around, I'm going to have to put our money on The Establishment.

Stay tuned, sports fans.
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