Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Telegram Reports That “Receivership of Southbridge Schools Possible”

Brian Lee reports that “…Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester said a recommendation to place [Southbridge schools] in Level 5 receivership is not off the table.”

Robert Curtin, director of education data services for the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, told the board “Statewide, only alternative schools, or those primarily designated for special education students, were lower than Southbridge's middle-high school.”  

Curtin will make a presentation of the District Review report at tonight's School Committee meeting.

According to the article, “The commissioner said the town views itself as serving two populations. ‘That term ‘normal, and our kids are not normal,’ was repeated multiple times by adults in my discussion with people,’ the commissioner said.”

72 percent of students fall into the “high needs” categories of either English language learners, economically disadvantaged or disabled,

There have been 43 people who served in nine administrative leadership roles, including an assortment of building principals

A board member asked if Level 5 status would provide for stable leadership, Mr. Chester said:
“The question in my mind is, what will it take to provide Southbridge students with a better opportunity? The track record we’ve seen in over a decade doesn’t give me hope that simply waiting is going to result in better things.”

Southbridge Interim Superintendent Timothy P. Connors attended the meeting, as did Committee Chairman Scott S. Lazo and members William K. Bishop and Amelia L. Peloquin. Former Southbridge school board members Erin Quinney and Brent Abrahamson were also present. 

Mr. Lazo said after the meeting that if there is a decision to take over the district, he hopes there would be “a sitdown and counterpoint” involving the state and his committee and district officials. He spoke again about “the mess” created by the School Committee’s majority prior to the June election.

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