Holyoke’s Public Schools under review by state’s Education Commissioner

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP)–Parents in Holyoke want the public schools system to stay in control of the city, and not the state.

Viviana de Jesus, a parent of a Holyoke school student, told 22News, “We have a democratically-elected school committee, and it would take all the control out of their hands and that would in essence take all the control out of parents’, taxpayers’ hands.”

But the State’s Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester is currently in the second week of a review of the city’s public school system, which could result in a takeover by the state.  At that point, a third party would step in

The review was bumped up to January from April because of what the commissioner called growing concerns with “stagnant student achievement.”

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse has met with the education commissioner’s review team. Following that meeting, he said that progress in the public school system has been made and is being noticed.

Superintendent Dr. Sergio Paez told 22News that the city saw what he called the “drawn-out process” of a state takeover with the Morgan Elementary School in 2013, and he said it wasn’t a good experience.

“The transition is difficult because we saw what happened with Morgan. It’s a lot of litigation, and we have to develop all kinds of plans and develop all kinds of memorandums of agreements,” Dr. Paez said.

Paez also said that a draft of the review team’s findings should be in his hands in about three weeks.

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