EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 31, 2013

Chester points to Lawrence as state takes over more schools

BOSTON - The state will take over four chronically under-performing schools that have been “stuck” as other troubled schools have made “quite good progress,” Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester announced yesterday.

The four schools – Dever Elementary and Holland Elementary, in Boston, the Morgan Full Service Community School in Holyoke and John Parker Elementary in New Bedford – were the only schools identified as possible takeover subjects when standardized test scores came out in September.

New Bedford and Holyoke have new superintendents and Boston is searching for its next superintendent, Chester said, commenting that despite efforts, the schools’ leadership has failed to generate a coherent plan for improving academic performance.

“We need to be able to run these schools on the funds that are available to them,” Chester said, noting that the Lawrence School District, which the state took over, is funded near the minimum level.

Lawrence was the first school district taken into state receivership, and the four schools in Boston, New Bedford and Holyoke are the first individual schools to cede management to the state.

“In the case of Lawrence it’s a much more comprehensive look at a full district, and the operations of the district, the structure, the relationship of the district to the central office,” Chester said.

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