Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Citizens' Guide to State Services

Published by
William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth
Citizen Information Service

Education/Arts: Public Education Alternatives

E16 Charter Schools

E17 School Choice Program


E16 Charter School Program
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148-4906
Tel: 781-338-3227
Fax: 781-338-3220
www.doe.mass.edu/charter/
E-mail: charterschools@doe.mass.edu

The first Charter Schools opened in 1995, as mandated by the Education Reform Act of 1993. They are public schools but differ in that they are governed by a diverse board of trustees comprised of local parents, educators and community leaders. They are accountable to the terms of their charters as well as state and federal public school law.  They have the freedom to organize around a core mission, curriculum, theme, or teaching method, and are allowed to control their own budgets, hire (and fire) teachers and staff.   They are public schools, which complement, not compete with, the other public schools, and are held to the same high standards.  Charters are granted for a period of five years subject to renewal and contingent upon the school's ability to deliver quality educational results and successfully meet the goals of its charter.


E17 School Choice Program
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148-4906
Tel: 781-338-6585
http://finance1.doe.mass.edu/schoice/

The Massachusetts school choice law (General Laws Chapter 76, Section 12B) was enacted in 1991 to allow parents to send their children to public schools in communities other than that in which they reside. School committees choose whether or not to become school choice receiving districts, and they may designate a maximum number of available school choice seats for an upcoming year. If there are more applicants than available openings, the selection of students must be conducted on a random basis, and must be free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national original, sex, age, sexual orientation, ancestry, athletic performance, physical handicap, special need or academic proficiency. Regulations governing a reimbursement program which allows for the reimbursement of transportation costs to low income parents whose children are participating in school choice are in place.


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