Stop Alma del Mar charter school expansion scheme

Massachusetts state legislators

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The proposed Alma del Mar charter school expansion is a bad deal for our community. It requires New Bedford to give away valuable public property at no cost to a private corporation. Families living in a new district will be automatically assigned to the charter school unless they opt out. New Bedford Public Schools will lose millions of dollars to pay for the additional charter school seats. The state will unjustly allow an even larger and more costly expansion of charter seats if the city does not accept this bad deal.

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To: Massachusetts state legislators
From: [Your Name]

We, the undersigned, are opposed to the Alma del Mar charter school expansion plan in New Bedford.

• The proposal unjustly forces New Bedford to give away a public building and public property for free to a private entity.
• The proposal automatically enrolls students into the charter school unless families fill out and return “opt-out” forms, a process that many parents and family members were unaware of.
• The proposal guarantees that New Bedford will pay Alma del Mar millions of dollars each year for agreed-upon enrollment figures, even if actual enrollment is far below the allotment. New Bedford Public Schools are already losing $14 million annually to privately operated charter schools in the city.
• Democratically elected city leaders have no authority over Alma del Mar, leaving families assigned to the charter school with no way to voice concerns to our School Committee.
• The proposal does not prevent Alma del Mar from future expansion.

For these reasons, and because we believe that public resources should be used to strengthen public schools, we oppose passage of legislation that undercuts our efforts to continue to improve our schools by allowing for this costly expansion of Alma del Mar charter school.