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New England News

New Authority To Operate Springfield Middle Schools

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WAMC
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Kiley Middle School in Springfield MA is one of the state's 35 underperforming schools that has made sweeping changes

In a first of its kind collaboration in Massachusetts, eight struggling middle schools in Springfield are going to be run by a partnership of state and local education officials and an independent advisor.

   The Springfield School Committee has signed an agreement to turn budgeting and staffing decisions at the 8 schools over to a public-private partnership called the Springfield Empowerment Zone.  Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno, who described the move as bold and innovative, said the new operating authority won’t take full charge of the schools until the next academic year.

   "We want to combine the good stuff we do in our public system with our teachers but have more flexibility for innovation like what is done in the charters ( schools)," said Sarno.

    The schools are under pressure to rapidly improve student standardized test scores or face a possible state takeover in three years.