MassMutual Center hosts charter school information showcase

Charter school advocates are hopeful there will be growth in the future

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Charter public schools in the Springfield area held an informational and enrollment showcase Saturday.

Students, parents and teachers gathered at the MassMutual Center in Springfield Saturday for an enrollment showcase for Charter Public Schools.

Julia Mejia, the Charter Public School Showcase coordinator, said, “Third annual Charter Public School Showcase serving families in Springfield, Holyoke and Chicopee. It’s an opportunity for families to have a one stop shop where they can learn about all the where they can learn about all the different types of Charter Schools that are available in their area.”

Charter schools are privately run, but they use public taxpayer funding.  Right now, roughly 4% of students in the state are in charter schools.

Yamilca Nogue told 22News “Looking for educational options, we learned about the event on Facebook so we said why not give it a try.”

Springfield had the 2nd longest waitlist in the state of children trying to get into charter schools last year, but the showcase coordinators say there is room.

Every year there are seats that open up so families can still continue to apply. The state currently has about 78 charter schools, and is allowed to have 120.

This past November, Massachusetts voters decided NOT to raise the cap, to open 12 more charter schools across the state.  The main argument from the 62% that voted against the idea is that 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

Parents in attendance at the showcase said their children are the priority.

Nogue continued “I don’t think it would take away, I mean again it’s an opportunity for the kids and that should be the focus and that should be what parents are thinking about.”

Elisha Lovejoy told 22News “My daughter is currently in Charter School and I love what she’s learning. She’s a straight A student A’s and B’s last report card, and I just love what she’s learning. The curriculum, she does longer days in school, they seem focused on her education.”

Longer school days and years, one on one tutoring, additional individualized learning.  These are some of the benefits new Charter Schools are advertising and expanding on.

Modesto Montero the founder of Libertas Academy said “Libertas Academy is a new college prep Charter school that’s opening up in August of 2017. We are enrolling students for our inaugural 6th grade class and eventually we will be a 6-12 school and we will have 90 students per grade.”

Charter school advocates said they are still hopeful that there will be room for growth in the future.