GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Letters/My View

October 1, 2012

Letter: State short-changing city on charter

To the editor:

Nearly four years ago, Secretary of Education Paul Reville referred to the decision to approve an unqualified charter school in Gloucester as a “tough but necessary pill to swallow.”

When the state made that decision, it also committed to a funding agreement that would provide for a partial reimbursement to the city, offsetting some of the cost of the school for the first few years of operation.

This year, the state failed to fully fund the appropriation necessary to reimburse charter communities for this reimbursement. Instead of receiving our full allocation, we, and cities like Gloucester, will receive only 74 percent of our expected reimbursement, leaving the city with the obligation of covering the remaining 26 percent.

This failure stands to cost our city about $273,000 this year — this, in addition to the millions of dollars that are already being diverted to pay for the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School.

Whatever your position on the charter school, this action by the state is an absolute affront.

Unless that appropriation is fully funded, the city will end up absorbing the lost local aid, and this, in turn, will impact city services.

It’s bad enough that the state imposed this school on our community for political purposes. It is untenable that state officials are now rubbing salt in that wound by reneging on their obligation to provide legislated funding designed to lessen some of the fiscal damage caused by the charter school.

JASON GROW

Marble Road, Gloucester

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