Metro

Baker, Coakley urge state to reconsider charter school decision

MELROSE — Both leading candidates for governor criticized the Patrick administration on Tuesday after the state rejected all applications for new, independently run charter schools for the first time in 15 years.

Attorney General Martha Coakley, who infrequently criticizes fellow Democrat Governor Deval Patrick, and Republican Charlie Baker used the same language in urging the Department of Education to “reconsider” its decision to block proposed charter schools in Brockton and Fitchburg after officials uncovered a procedural error.

Coakley called the decision “disappointing,” saying in a statement, “We shouldn’t let a technicality get in the way of offering increased opportunities to our children in school districts across the state.”

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In his own statement, Baker said he would “fight any attempts to put politics ahead of children in the Commonwealth’s cities.” He said the decision would “rob families of the chance at a better education for their kids.”

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At an unrelated campaign stop, Baker, who has been running a more urban-focused campaign than many statewide GOP candidates, told a reporter, “It’s the No. 1 issue I hear when I knock on doors in cities – especially for moms. They don’t have enough choices for their kids, and they’re worried about it.”

Baker was campaigning Tuesday in Melrose with Democratic Mayor Rob Dolan, meeting with him in City Hall and then touring downtown businesses. Dolan did not endorse Baker, who bought him a Wiffle ball from a local hardware store.

Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at jim.osullivan@globe.com.