By Seth Daniel
The Chelsea School Committee will leave it’s summer break and get back into action with a bang on Thursday night, Sept. 1, when it is expected to take a vote on whether or not to oppose the Charter School expansion question (Question 2) on November’s statewide ballot.
Chelsea Public Schools have, unlike some districts, historically worked closely with the Charter Schools in the area, including Phoenix Charter and Excel Academy, but the recent question has put a strain on relations with Chelsea’s public schools and charters in the area.
The Committee will vote on a resolution involving the question, which calls for a statewide lifting of the cap on Charter Schools – meaning that more charters could be approved by the state and, potentially, take away students and funding from the public schools.
School Committeeman Robert Pereira has been studying the issue for several months and said he cannot support Question 2 and will recommend in his resolution that the School Committee not support Question 2.
“The resolution I have put forward is not an attack on public charters,” he said. “The core aspects of public charters’ funding is I feel cause for concern. Furthermore I feel there is a lack of athletic facilities (they use public school grounds), and ability to handle special needs students. I am overall opposed to taking more money from public school students to service many less students of public charters in district. It is key to note that these schools are good school but in my opinion do not have the capacity to educate all students. And that is just my opinion, parents should always choose the school they feel is best for their child
He did say he is a big fan of the work done by Phoenix Charter Academy.
“They help kids who really need it and do a excellent job of doing so,” he said. “I toured their facility here in Chelsea and was greeted by kind students on their way to college and courteous hard working staff. I feel other public charters should take a minute to learn from Phoenix.”
The Committee is expected to follow Pereira’s recommendation and not support the expansion of Charter Schools at its meeting tonight, Sept. 1.