Massachusetts residents will vote on expanding charter schools

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – On the ballot, a yes vote on Question 2 would allow the state to open 12 more charter schools in Massachusetts.

Priority would be given to under-performing school districts like Springfield, and Holyoke. Springfield has the 2nd longest wait list in the state for children trying to get into charter schools.

The state currently has 78 charter schools, and is allowed to have 120. Charter schools are privately run, but they use public taxpayer funding. Right now, roughly 4 percent of students in the state are in charter schools.

Continuing Coverage: Decision 2016

Governor Baker supports the expansion of charter schools, saying they can tailor the curriculum to the school’s mission. He argues it gives families more options on where to send their children to receive the best education available.

A “no” vote would make no change to the current law. Senator Elizabeth Warren, teachers, and more than 54 school committees across western Massachusetts support a “no” vote, arguing more charter schools could hurt the other schools that educate 96% of students in the state.

They also argue charter schools take funding away from traditional charter schools. If a student attends a charter school, the annual funding of that school leaves the district. It takes six years to reimburse.

Massachusetts public schools are currently underfunded by more than 1-billion dollars, and increasing charter schools over the next 10 years could cost another billion each year.