State Dept. of Ed. to Review Proposals for Two New Charter Schools Serving Haverhill Students

Two proposed charter schools serving Haverhill students are under review by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. (File photograph)

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education this week invited the founders of two proposed charter schools serving students in Haverhill to submit full applications, with the Equity Lab Charter School and the Massachusetts Wildflower Montessori Public Charter School: Haverhill piquing the agency’s interest.

According to DESE, the Haverhill-based Wildflower school and the Lawrence-based Equity Lab—serving students in Haverhill, Methuen and Lawrence—were among three applicant groups who submitted paperwork to open a new charter school. Both groups are now tasked with submitting final materials before the Oct. 25 deadline.

“I look forward to seeing the final applications, and I will consider both what is submitted by applicant groups and what we receive through public comment,” Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley said Tuesday.

According to preliminary proposals, the Haverhill Wildflower school would serve 240 students in grades 1-8, while the Equity Lab Charter School’s enrollment of grade 5-12 students would be limited to 640.

A panel will review final submissions and public hearings scheduled before Riley makes a recommendation to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The Board plans to vote at its February 2019 meeting.

Haverhill’s Hill View Montessori School on Ward Hill’s Foundation Avenue is fully autonomous and operates independently of the city school district. In August, Silver Hill Elementary School was reabsorbed into the Haverhill Public School system after local educators voted not to renew its status as a Horace Mann Charter School. More than 80 other charter schools are operational across the state.