The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education today placed the recently opened Gloucester Community Arts Charter School on probation.
The school will have until Dec. 21 to address a dozen conditions regarding its financial health, possible state contract bidding violations, and other issues. State education officials will then assess the next steps.
Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester, who had initially threatened to have the school's charter revoked, recommended the probation earlier this week.
“Anyone who thinks I feel good about the current circumstances at this school is seriously misreading me,” Chester said in a statement following a board meeting. “It is because I continue to have concerns about GCACS that we are putting the school on a very short leash.''
A charter school's failure comply with the terms of a probation can lay the ground for revocation.
The school has divided the seaside city.
Gloucester officials have opposed the charter school since it was first proposed about two years ago because it would cause the city to lose state aid. Each student who attends a charter school takes away thousands of dollars in state aid from the former school district, and Gloucester officials say such losses could reach $2.4 million annually, roughly a third of the city’s current state aid.
But school supporters say families need more public options than the city provides.
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