CPS Open Letter Calls on State Officials to Reject Proposed Worcester Charter School

Citizens for Public Schools calls on state officials to reject the proposal from Worcester Cultural Academy to create a new charter school in Worcester.

We ask Commissioner Jeff Riley to withdraw his favorable recommendation, Gov. Maura Healey and Education Secretary Patrick Tutwiler to oppose the proposal, and the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to reject it if Commissioner Riley does not withdraw it.

CPS was among the vast majority of individuals and groups who submitted public comment against the proposal, comments that were ignored in Commissioner Riley’s favorable recommendation.

Worcester educators have provided detailed criticism of the curriculum and other aspects of the proposal, and pointed out the harm it would do to children in Worcester Public Schools that will lose many millions of dollars to the new charter if it is approved.

But the application also raises an issue that has nothing to do with the benefits or harm of charter schools. The sponsors openly say they plan to use public education funds to “safeguard” the finances of a private organization, Old Sturbridge Village.

“Our [charter] academies will provide reliable, contractual revenue to the museum, safeguarding us against fluctuations in uncontrollable factors that impact admission revenue,” says the Old Sturbridge Village 2022 annual report.

And about that contract: By the fifth year, the proposal is to turn over nearly half a million dollars a year to Old Sturbridge Village for financial services to one small school.

The Worcester School Committee is meeting today to ask the state Inspector General and Auditor to look into that arrangement.

Voting against the Sturbridge charter proposal tomorrow would make a strong statement that the state board, established to support public education, is working to protect and not harm our state’s children. 

Vote no.