Board of troubled Gloucester charter school votes to close its doors at end of school year

MALDEN—The trustees of the embattled Gloucester Community Arts Charter School voted Monday night to shut down at the end of the school year, one day before the state was expected to begin the process of revoking its charter.

The trustees decided to surrender its charter to ensure a smooth transition for its students to new schools next fall, according to a copy of a certificate signed by trustee chairman, James Caviston.

Mitchell Chester, state education commissioner, announced the trustee vote this morning at a monthly meeting of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, which voted unanimously to accept the decision by the leaders of the Gloucester school.

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The surrender, however, came with a hitch. Cash flow at the charter was so weak it was running the risk of not having enough money to get through the year. Consequently, trustees asked the state to provide state aid on a monthly basis instead of a quarterly basis. The state board agreed to the change.

The state board in its vote also reserved the right to revoke the charter as a precautionary measure.

“I hope we all think long and hard about how we will make (city of) Gloucester whole and make this transition work for everyone and make Gloucester schools as strong as they can be,” said state Senator Bruce Tarr in testimony to the board after they voted.

State board members cast their votes without any public discussion on the motion.

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