BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker joined parents from across Massachusetts in the fight for more charter schools. Supporters collected more than 25,000 signatures in hopes that it’ll convince state lawmakers to lift the cap, and expand charter schools.
Massachusetts parents gathered at the State House Tuesday calling on state lawmakers to lift the cap on charter schools. Republican Governor Charlie Baker is a long-time and vocal supporter. He said, “It just kills me to hear other families for whom this is in fact the best and most significant opportunity they’re going to have to do right by their children.”
40,000 students are enrolled in charter schools in Massachusetts. Compare that to the 37,000 children currently wait-listed. State lawmakers are reluctant to lift the cap.
Charter schools are funded through taxpayer dollars. The state’s teachers union argues that expansion would take resources from students who attend traditional public schools. Massachusetts Teachers Association President Barbara Madeloni told 22News, “We don’t need charter schools to be dragging funds, sucking funds out of public education. We’re ready to fight both the legislation and the ballot initiative.”
Supporters say they’re prepared to put a question on the November ballot to expand charter schools if state lawmakers don’t take action.
“We need to lift the cap, pretty much. It’s for the betterment of our children, you know, the greater education for our children,” said one Dorchester mother.
If the ballot question to expand access to charter schools goes before voters, Governor Baker said he’s confident it’ll pass.