Judge: Parents Have Right to Challenge Gloucester Charter

Sheila Decter, CPS board member and Executive Director of the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action, posted this about Judge Richard Welch III’s decision in the Gloucester Charter School case:

Where the Board and Commissioner of Education awarded a charter after the Department’s Charter School Office concluded that the school did not meet the legally required educational criteria; after a memo from the Secretary of Education urged that the Commissioner and Board award the charter for political reasons; and the Inspector General concluded that it had never validly been awarded and should be deemed void ad initio.

JALSA does not believe that privatization of education is the way to improve the quality of schools for the full body of students who are due quality education from the Commonwealth.  This particular case has shown a blatant disregard for the requirements of state law.

Parents of Gloucester school children asked for an injunction to prevent the school from opening this month.  The Court did not find irreparable harm to the parents sufficient to respond with an injunction, in contrast to the waste of funds and educational resources already contracted if the school did not open as planned.  Notwithstanding its reluctance to issue a preliminary injunction at this time, the Court did grant that the parents had standing to contest the Board’s grant of the particular charter on limited grounds and to be able to proceed with their lawsuit.

Judge Richard E. Welch, III concluded:

“This lawsuit represents more than a disagreement over whether a proposed school deserves a charter.  The plaintiffs present considerable evidence that the Board and the Commissioner blatantly ignored and violated state law when granting the GCA charter for political reasons.”