Huseyin Kara, director of development at the Pioneer Charter School of Science, said its network of charter schools provides students with a choice of academic programs they can attend in their community. It may also bring relief to some districts, Kara said.
“Our interaction and impact with the local school district is different from city to city,” Kara said at a June 16 Peabody Planning Board meeting. “Let’s say Everett has overcrowded classrooms. Removing students from them is a relief for them.
According to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Peabody spent $1,019,077 in FY22 to send 70 students to charter schools, which means the city lost $14,558 for each of those. students – the cost it would have taken to educate them in the Peabody Schools.
The state will reimburse districts that lose students to charter schools 100% of that cost for the first year they leave, 60% for the second year, and 40% for the third year.
“No matter what they say, whether you get reimbursed, you get reimbursed for a very short period of time,” said Beverley Griffin Dunne, a longtime Peabody school board member.
“This (charter school) has a very big impact on the school’s budget going forward,” she continued. “Because the school is in Peabody, more Peabody kids would go there. The impact will be in the millions.”
Griffin Dunne said that even if more students go to PCSS, it will result in fewer students in Peabody schools, class sizes in the district will still increase due to less funding.
School committee member Joe Amico said he’s concerned about the potential impact a new charter school could have on district funding, and that charter schools don’t have to follow every same regulations as regular public school districts in the state.
“With public schools, we traditionally educate every student who walks through our doors,” said Amico, who is also a teacher at Revere. “I don’t think charter schools do that.”
PCSS, like other charter schools, uses a public lottery process for enrollment. Teachers also do not need to be fully certified to be hired at Massachusetts charter schools under state regulations, unlike regular public school teachers who need at least a bachelor’s degree and a preliminary license to teach, and must receive their master’s degree within five years. to be hired.
At PCSS, only English teachers are required to have a license when hired, said the school’s CEO, Barish Icin.
“We prefer to hire teachers with licenses but it is not an obligation,” he continued. “We focus on hiring teachers who are proficient in content (Bachelor’s or Master’s in the subject they will be teaching). Teachers hired without a license have one year to complete the process.
Amico said it opposed the construction of PCSS at Peabody. However, he said he wouldn’t mind charter schools being “on the same playing field” as other public schools, and that he would like to see more state-imposed regulations before we come to town.
“I think charter schools serve a purpose in some parts of the country, or maybe in the state, where funding isn’t plentiful, or they don’t have the resources that cities have,” said Amico said. “In the town of Peabody, I think we do an amazing job educating kids.”