, Salem, MA

Local News

March 18, 2014

Board votes to consider turning Bentley over to private firm

SALEM — The School Committee voted 6-1 last night to explore hiring a private school management firm to take over the struggling Bentley School.

If that happens, it will be a first for the city and region.

The board directed school officials to hammer out an agreement with Blueprint Schools Network, a nonprofit that has worked with the Denver and St. Louis public schools, and bring it back for a final vote. That step is expected to take a month or more.

The dramatic vote was met with silence by a standing-room-only crowd in the School Committee meeting room at Collins Middle School that included many Bentley teachers and parents.

A proposal to consider an alternative plan from the Bentley staff was rejected.

Mayor Kim Driscoll and Superintendent Stephen Russell both supported hiring an outside school management firm.

“We need to hold up the mirror, and we need to recognize that more help is needed,” Russell said.

The school boss said he believes Blueprint “can bring us to a higher level.”

With a possible Level 5 designation looming next year, which could mean a state takeover of Bentley, Driscoll said the situation is urgent. She recited some of the low scores of Bentley students in the state MCAS exams to underscore her point.

“I’m accountable to the people who elected me and to the hundreds of kids whose statistics I just read off,” she said. “We haven’t had the success we hoped for. We need to get serious. It’s not a rush to judgment...

“I’m really proud of the effort everybody’s put forth, but I really feel we need to take a fresh start,” Driscoll said.

“For us to think about not doing anything, taking another year, that would be irresponsible ... I know we can do this, but I also know we need help...”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Comments Tracker