School Committee to Take Position on Lifting Charter School Cap

Members of local and state teachers’ unions are among those scheduled to address the Haverhill School Committee tonight as it decides whether to support a resolution in opposition to lifting a cap on private charter schools.

The item was postponed two weeks ago in connection with a planned statewide ballot question. Committeeman Scott W. Wood Jr. has requested members of the Haverhill Education Association and Massachusetts Teachers Association to “speak about ‘Save Our Public Schools’ and the ballot question on charter schools.” At the last committee meeting, Wood invited James McCarty of the Campaign to Save Our Public Schools, Boston. To make a presentation on an effort “to oppose the charter school ballot question that would drain millions more in taxpayer money from Massachusetts public schools every year,” according to the group’s website.

“Haverhill is losing $2,807,927 to Commonwealth charter schools and public school districts across the state are losing more than $408 million this year alone – a loss of funds that is undermining the ability of districts to provide all students with the educational services to which they are entitled,” a resolution statement reads.

Listed as a separate agenda item, however, Committeeman Sven A. Amirian has requested to introduce Marc Kenen and Keri Lorenzo from the Charter School Association. The association, founded in 2001, lists among its objectives, “Advocacy with the state and federal government on behalf of Massachusetts charter public schools through grassroots organizing, public relations and governmental activities.”

The Haverhill School Committee meets at 7 p.m., tonight, in Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. Council Chambers at Haverhill City Hall.