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State Mulls Charter Tag for Failing School

Happiness for Standardistas is not being hampered by collective bargaining.

As the state prepares to declare a Fall River middle school ``chronically underperforming'' for the first time ever, the city is pinning its hopes for a turnaround on creating a district-run charter school in its place.

``This is about results and in the case of the Kuss Middle School, clearly we are not seeing the kind of progress that has to be made for kids,'' Education Commissioner David Driscoll told state Board of Education members yesterday.

The board will vote next month on Driscoll's recommendation to declare the Kuss ``chronically underperforming.'' Driscoll said school officials intend to create a Horace Mann Charter school in the Kuss's place. A Horace Mann charter school is run independently, like the Commonwealth charter schools, but governed from within the traditional public school district.

Fall River officials did not speak at yesterday's meeting but told the Associated Press they didn't intend to fight the designation.

That would give the Board of Education broad powers to run the school, beginning with firing the principal. The new school head can fire teachers, though Driscoll cautioned that teachers' unions weren't the bugaboo to reform that some critics made them out to be.

``I don't think it's as dramatic as some might say,'' Driscoll said. ``At least in this case it's going to be an easier decision, it's not complicated by the collective bargaining provisions.''

— Kevin Rothstein
Boston Herald


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