Hadley charter school looks to increase enrollment

The school has asked the state to allow them to double their enrollment

HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP)- For 10 years, the Pioneer Valley Chinese Charter School in Hadley has been providing a unique education to children across Western Massachusetts.

The school specializes in teaching Mandarin Chinese to children. They also teach all the usual public school subjects, like Math, English, and Social Studies.

The school expects to have at least 30 more kids enrolled for the next academic year, which starts August 30. They’ve asked the state to allow them to double their enrollment, to a maximum of 1,036 students.

“We’d add 44 kids in kindergarten each year for the next 10 years,” said Richard Alcorn, Executive Director of the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School. “It wouldn’t be like we’d double the school overnight, it would be a gradual roll out of the program.”

But there’s concern increasing enrollment could take funding from the other public schools.

“The concerns are primarily financial based on the charter school funding formula, on how it gets funded by the state legislature,” said Michael Morris, Superintendent of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Districts.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will be reviewing the school’s request. Since opening in 2007, the charter school has increased their enrollment from 300 to 470.

The school expects an answer by February.