According to DOE Minutes 2/28/11
Request for Review: Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School
Commissioner Chester said the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School was first chartered in 2007. The commissioner said the school requested a charter amendment to add 120 seats, he denied the request for the reasons presented in the memo, and the school has exercised its right to seek a review of that decision from the Board.
Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School Executive Director Richard Alcorn read a statement and said it was challenging for the school to not be able to look out five years to develop its program. Commissioner Chester said his decision is based on the fact that the school is operating under its first charter and there is not yet sufficient evidence to support the amendment. The commissioner said the school has not yet reached its maximum enrollment and has yet to undergo a comprehensive review. Commissioner Chester said the school has five years to demonstrate its success under its initial charter.
Ms. Chernow asked whether the 6th grade entry was new. Mr. Alcorn said the school is seeking to backfill vacant seats, per the new state law. Associate Commissioner Jeff Wulfson said the school was chartered for K-8 and did not require additional approval for 6th grade entry. He said the school may have made a commitment to the U.S. Department of Education but it was in anticipation of approval that the Board had not yet granted.
Secretary Reville said the state has been supportive of this school and its Chinese immersion program, and the school is not yet bumping up against its maximum enrollment. The secretary asked if there is precedent to grant an expansion amendment to a school in its first 5-year charter. Associate Commissioner Wulfson said he could not recall such a precedent. Commissioner Chester said there is great value to language immersion but it is premature to expand the school’s charter right now.
On a motion duly made and seconded, it was:
VOTED: that the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, in accordance with General Laws chapter 71, section 89, and 603 CMR 1.00, hereby denies, for the reasons presented by the Commissioner, the request by the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School to increase their enrollment from 300 to 420 students.
The vote was 10-0-1. Ms. Kaplan abstained.
Original Memo of denial from Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester
To: PVCIC listserve
Sent: Sun, May 22, 2011 7:04 pm
Subject: PVCI Family Association Discussion with Executive Director Thurs May 26
Thursday May 26 at 8:30AM, Richard Alcorn will be available to talk with parents regarding recent newspaper articles around the proposed expansion of PVCICS. Richard will discuss ways in which parents can help support the school in its efforts to respond to issues raised in the article. The proposed addition of a high school will affect all PVCICS families- not just current middle-school students. Please attend. (Richard will be available at 5:45PM on the same day for parents who cannot attend the morning meeting)
Meeting with PVCICS Executive Director