Lawyer Pitches D-Y Charter High School to Yarmouth Selectmen

ThinkstockPhotos-478317767YARMOUTH – A charter high school for the Dennis-Yarmouth area was pitched to Yarmouth selectmen last night.

Kelly Lydon, a West Barnstable lawyer, made a presentation to selectmen about the charter school, which he said would offer an alternative to D-Y High School.

“I think a good education, given the Cape’s seasonal economy, can lift them out of poverty, keep them out of the criminal justice system and give them a good opportunity, perhaps serve in town government, become lawyers, doctors or teachers themselves or small business people,” said Lydon.

Lydon added that they are hoping to find a building in the Dennis-Yarmouth area, and have an eye on an empty middle school building in Harwich.

He plans to meet with Dennis selectmen as well soon.

Over 140 students from the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District were lost to two charter schools on the Cape last year.

That’s resulted in over $1.7 million in tuition reimbursement lost from the state.

Students from across the Cape would be recruited to the new charter school.

Selectman Tracy Post said that she believed Lydon misrepresented the high school during his presentation when he said that the high school had “a watered down curriculum”.

She said she wants to answers to how the charter school would help the community.

“How do you propose that your charter school would help those middle income people that are lost? You’re going to guarantee that middle income people with single parents are going to get into your charter school?”

Lydon agreed that they would and offered a comparison.

“Just go to Sturgis,” said Lydon. “There’s some sort of myth that these are wealthy students, that they drive Mercedes and Cadillacs. You have some homeless students there, you have wealthy students, but you have low to middle income students from D-Y.”

Selectman Norman Holcomb continued to press Lydon about his comments during his presentation.

“You’ve made statements that charter schools are much more efficient, and devote much less as a percentage of their total education costs to administrative costs and I’m looking for some specifics,” said Holcomb.

Selectman Chair Erik Tolley appreciated Lydon’s presentation but said that they will watch how the process unfolds.

“I’m not sure that coming in here tonight and trying to portray our high school students as needing to be saved by a charter school was perhaps the best tactic,” said Tolley. “If your intent on moving forward, I think we’ll all be curious to watch the process and how it plays out.”

Lydon said that a review site committee from the State Department of Education for a charter school re-design are expected in Dennis in April 2016.

From then, a final decision is made by the Commissioner of the DEP, with input from the state legislature.

Lydon has plans to meet with Dennis selectmen soon.

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