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State approves plan for Salem’s Bentley School to become a charter

Salem’s Bentley School, one of the lowest achieving public schools in the state, will become a charter school next fall.

Last week, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education awarded two new charters, choosing Bentley, a K-5 elementary, and the UP Academy Charter School of Springfield. Both will be Horace Mann charter schools, funded by the local school districts but run by an independent board.

The Salem school will be called the Bentley Academy Charter School.

“The in-district charter gives us an opportunity to focus — and I think in a stronger way — on some of the needs of the students in that school,” said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, who also chairs the School Committee and supported Bentley’s shift to a charter.

For the last four years, Bentley has struggled with academic achievement.

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