Holyoke parents skeptical over state receivership

The Board will appoint a "receiver" this summer

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to place the Holyoke School District in receivership Tuesday, and parents would like to see many changes in the district’s school system, which has chronically underperformed on state standards since 2003.

The State Board of Elementary and Secondary education voted 8-3 to place Holyoke schools in receivership Tuesday, and many parents, like Maria Mares, are fearful. “Yes, I would consider switching schools if it’s better for my kids, they need a good education,” she said.

Glenda Pollard is a grandparent of children in Holyoke’s school system; she’s also worried about what changes it may bring. “It does concern me because I have, in the city of Holyoke raised 8 children, and they all did well. I just hope and pray that it doesn’t affect the Holyoke teachers,” she said.

Holyoke will be the second district to be taken over by the state, Lawrence became the first in 2011. Three years later, that district’s dropout rate was cut in half, and their math proficiency levels reached historic highs.

Many of the parents told 22News they’re most concerned about what those changes would be and when they would happen, but Faizul Sibdhanny, a former Holyoke High School student who dropped out this year, said he thinks it’s for the best. “The year I started kindergarten, the state declared Holyoke an underperforming district. Since then, the district remains underperforming,” he said.

The Board will appoint a “receiver” this summer. The receiver will have the power to hire and fire staff, and void union contracts to turn the city’s schools around.

Here’s how Lawrence schools have changed.

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