As you likely know by now, the NBEA in conjunction with the MTA organized and published a list of fifty-five questions pertaining to the innovation schools proposals, asking questions that would likely be answered by the conclusive budgeting and impact statements that have remained unreleased. Well earlier this week, the Renaissance proponents submitted their budget. No impact study. The Esperanza budget is due by end of business on Friday. No mention of an impact statement there either.
Keep in mind, the list of fifty-five set a deadline for the receipt of the requested information by Friday. We’ll see what actions can be taken once those questions are not answered by, as Mitchell termed them, “the two charter schools.”
Note the Innovation Schools Statute: Mass. General Laws Chapter 71, Section 92, which specifically notes the following:
In the case of a new school, the committee will prepare an impact statement describing how the new school will affect the children and faculty in the district.
Hasn’t been done.
Why do it anyway? Much of the statute has already been disregarded or followed in a manipulative manner contrary to the spirit of the law. For example, the innovation groups are supposed to form screening committees and then an innovation plan committee that ensures the rules are followed and the proposals are well-formulated and cohesive. The groups in New Bedford formed the required committees, but filled all the seats with either members of the initial design teams or people who were already sympathetic and biased toward opening the schools.
This is a political play — and it certainly is not explicitly banned by the statute — but it explains just how so many important questions have gone unanswered and why the impact studies have not been done. The “authority” responsible for ensuring the schools have merit is a well-stacked deck that resembles more of a rubber stamp formality.
I’ve emailed the MA DOE regarding what effect the lack of impact statements could have on the proposal and voting process, though I can’t say I’m expecting a response. Bear in mind the schools will present their plans and face the scrutiny of the school committee a week from today.