MTA members in New Bedford need your help as they fight a charter school expansion plan that will not only harm the city’s public school students, but also set a dangerous precedent statewide.

Please send a message to your legislators right away asking them to oppose HD. 4174, An Act Relative to the Operation of Charter Schools in the City of New Bedford. This bill is the result of a coercive deal brokered by state Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley.

The bill would force New Bedford to hand over a publicly owned school building and the land it sits on for $0 to a privately run charter school, Alma del Mar. The bill also allows Alma del Mar to automatically draw its students from a newly created neighborhood zone – forcing all students from that zone to attend unless they opt out – rather than using a lottery to enroll students who opt in. If this charter expansion model moves ahead, New Bedford must pay the charter school for the full allotment of seats, not just for the actual number of students enrolled. Secretary of Education Jim Peyser and other proponents of privatization schemes are eager to make this “neighborhood” charter school a model to be used in communities across the state.

If the charter school does not get what it wants, the state will grant Alma del Mar an even larger expansion. New Bedford already loses $14 million to charter schools, and any charter school expansion in the city is unacceptable.

The New Bedford Educators Association and the MTA are part of the New Bedford Coalition to Save Our Schools. The coalition has been leading the fight against Alma del Mar and Riley’s intention to defy the will of the voters who, in both New Bedford and across the state, overwhelmingly rejected a 2016 ballot initiative that sought to allow a drastic increase in charter schools.

Please support your colleagues, the coalition, the New Bedford Public Schools and all students by contacting your legislators today.

In solidarity,

Merrie and Max

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