Horace Mann Parents Continue to Fight to Save Charter

COURTESY OF BARNSTABLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

HYANNIS – Parents are expected to voice their concerns Monday night with the Barnstable School Committee’s recent decision to not renew the charter of the Barnstable Community Horace Mann Charter Public School.

Last month, the committee voted to not renew the charter for the school for another five years to regain governance of the institution.

The vote was made despite years of success and high standardized test scores by students at the K through 3 facility.

Several school committee members expressed concern about enrollment procedures at the school and the inability of the committee to have oversight.

Parents will show support for the school at tonight’s school committee meeting.

“They would like to ask the questions that were not really addressed when that vote was taken,” said Timea Menyhart, a former member of the school’s Board of Trustees.

Horace Mann Charter Schools are governed by a board of trustees and not the school committee.

Parents have launched an online petition supporting the renewal of the school’s charter.

“The parents are still in uproar and they are really seeking every single option that they have,” Menyhart said.

“They are concerned for their children and this was probably an obvious choice for a lot of them.”

Menyhart said it is important for residents in the town who feel strongly about school choice, and recognize the success of the school to show support for the petition.

“It could make a pretty strong impact,” she said.

Students from all of Barnstable’s seven villages attend the school, and a majority are from low income households.

Some members of the school committee suggested the school could become and Innovation School.

Innovation Schools can implement creative and inventive strategies, increase student achievement and reduce achievement gaps while keeping school funding within districts.

The unique schools operate with increased autonomy and flexibility in six key areas with the goal of establishing the school conditions that lead to improved teaching and learning.

“The district is determined to convert the Horace Mann Charter school to an Innovation school and they are claiming that this school would not go through any significant changes,” Menyhart said.

The difference is that school districts oversee innovation schools and not an independent board of trustees and that everything the district decides for the school will happen.

“That is a concern for the parents,” Menyhart said.

Menyhart said the school has been successful because the program allowed ownership from all stakeholders, including the board, the principal, teachers, parents and students.

She said the effort to save the charter continues to be strong.

The school will operate as a Horace Mann Charter school for the 2018-19 school year.

The school committee meeting is at 6 p.m. at Barnstable High School.

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