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Mass. asked to boost size, number of charter schools

Ten applicants are seeking to open charter schools in Massachusetts, while 19 existing charters hope to add seats, and three charter networks want to build new schools, according to state officials.

The charter school proposals, filed last week with the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, represent every section of the state except Berkshire and Franklin counties in Western Massachusetts.

“Massachusetts’ charter schools are some of the best in the nation and present a promising opportunity to improve the overall quality of public education and the lives of the children who attend,” Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement.

In September, the Education Department will notify applicants seeking to open new schools whether they may proceed to the next stage. Final applications are due Nov. 4, and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will vote on finalists in February.


In Boston, where 668 seats are set to open in this application cycle, Brooke Charter High School and UP Academy Charter School applied to build new schools, five others sought to add from 216 to 659 seats to existing schools, and an additional eight schools sought fewer than 100 seats each.

That demand could bolster support for a potential ballot question from pro-charter groups that would raise the state’s cap on charter schools. Petitions to submit questions for the November 2016 ballot must be filed with Attorney General Maura Healey by Wednesday.

“This is a perfect example of why arbitrary caps on charter enrollment are unfair to families in Boston and other cities across the Commonwealth,” Beth Anderson, president of the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, said in a statement Monday.

Any expansion effort would face opposition from teachers’ unions, organizations of district-school parents, and others opposed to lifting the cap.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.