, Gloucester, MA

February 15, 2013

Editorial: Charter sell-off a city opportunity

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — It’s interesting to note that the state’s Department of Education is working with the Board of Trustees of the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School to ensure all is on the up-and-up regarding a pending sell-off of the school’s furniture, computers and other equipment to pay the bankrupt schools creditors. If the state ed board had responded with effective oversight of the trustees’ spending habits when the school was running up its debts, perhaps students would still be learning in the virtually new school in Blackburn Industrial Park.

But as the school considers its sell-off, it is offering a preview of available items at the school Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. And someone from the Gloucester Public School District had best be there to ge a sense of what’s available. For it’s hard to imagine the charter schools goods and supplies could not be put to good and cost-effective use by the city school system.

As we noted previously, city and school officials should look at acquiring or leasing the virtually brand-new school itself, given that its 200-student capacity could handle the current enrollment of Veterans Memorial School or Plum Cove, or that it could serve as a site for perhaps a magnet of Horace Mann School, if the district wanted to explore those alternatives.

But if all of that is too much for school officials to consider, the charter school’s planned supply sell-off should provide bargain opportunities for city schools that need new desks, chairs — even pianos — and the like for Gloucester’s schoolchildren. Let’s hope their disgust and distrust of all things charter doesn’t cloud their appreciation of what could be a golden opportunity.