HAVERHILL — A proposal to open a Wildflower Montessori public charter school in Haverhill will not be moving forward at this time.

State Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley announced Friday he will not recommend approval of the Wildflower school for Haverhill. 

The application, which was supposed to have been voted on next Tuesday, is dead for this cycle.

"This is a huge victory for the students who attend our public schools," Ted Kempinski, president of the Haverhill Education Association, said in a statement. "Our schools desperately need more funding. What we don’t need is another charter school that will drain money from the public schools that educate all students."

The proposal called for creating a 240-seat Wildflower public charter school that the Haverhill Education Association says would have taken away more than $1.6 million a year from the district public schools.

According to the Massachusetts Teachers Association, in a memo to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education dated Feb. 6, but released Friday, the commissioner wrote that his primary objection was that "the applicant group is at the beginning stages of developing the necessary knowledge and capacity to implement all aspects of the proposed school design, including governance and management."

 

Wildflower spokeswoman Katie Graham said her group is looking forward to discussing the review and feedback with state education officials.

"This is a new model and our applicant group is at the beginning of its journey," Graham said. "Our founding team is a diverse and innovative group of professionals and parents who have strong ties to Haverhill and a deep commitment to improving educational outcomes for children.

"In the meantime, we are continuing to grow and continue to support our existing Wildflower schools in Haverhill," she said about Zinnia Montessori, an independent preschool located at Hillview Montessori in Ward Hill, and Marigold Montessori School, located at Trinity Episcopal Church on White Street.

Zinnia and Marigold are both Wildflower-model schools and are supported by the Wildflower Foundation.

"We have a third preschool, called Wisteria Montessori that will be opening at 76 Merrimack St. this spring," Graham said. 

The HEA had been urging local teachers to email Board of Elementary and Secondary Education members to vote against the proposal.

 

 

"We are glad that we have won this important victory for our public schools," Kempinski said. 

"Now we can focus on what will really make a difference for our students: more resources and support for our public schools, the very things we are seeking through the statewide Fund Our Future campaign," he said. 

  

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