Tuesday, April 28, 2015

State Takes Over Holyoke Schools

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education declared Holyoke Public Schools a "chronically underperforming" Level 5 district on Wednesday.

With that rating, Holyoke Public Schools is placed under the control of the state and will be managed by a receiver.

This vote follows a highly attended forum on Holyoke Public Schools in the city Monday night, where the school community largely asked city schools remain under local control. 

During the four-hour meeting 65 people spoke to the board, most of whom said they supported the work of Superintendent of Schools Sergio Paez and asked he be given more time to see the results of his work.

Board Chairman Paul Sagan acknowledges such improvement but said it's just way, way too little."

The following board members voted in favor of receivership: Sagan, Vanessa Calderon-Rosado, Katherine Craven, Margaret McKenna, James O'S. Morton, Penny Noyce, James Peyser and David Roach. While Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell D. Chester recommended receivership, he doesn't have a vote on the board.

Three members - Ed Doherty, Mary Ann Stewart and Donald Willyard - voted against receivership. Doherty cited labor concerns regarding the vote and Stewart and Willyard said they were convinced to vote no following a visit to Holyoke Public Schools. They were the only two members to visit the schools.

The majority of the board shared similar statements to Sagan, saying they were concerned progress would not come soon enough in the district.

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