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State Board Votes To Take Over Lawrence Schools

In an unprecedented move, the state has taken over the Lawrence school district in the hopes of improving student achievement.

On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Board of Education agreed with Commissioner Mitchell Chester's recommendation to use a new law to put the school district into state receivership.

"I do believe that nothing short of a profound re-looking of how we do business in Lawrence will get the job done," Chester said.

The commissioner will now appoint a person or a nonprofit to be the superintendent and the school board combined. State control will continue for at least four years, or until student achievement significantly improves.

One school board member voted against state takeover, saying Lawrence needs a stronger superintendent, not state interference.

Lawrence's mayor had requested the move and called it a sign of hope. The teachers union in Lawrence supports the move. And Gov. Deval Patrick says receivership is the best path forward for the students.

State Education Secretary Paul Reville called the decision a moment of opportunity for Lawrence's schools.

"All kinds of expertise, support, financial help are going to flow in the way of the school system," Reville said.

The state already pays 98 percent of Lawrence's school budget.

This program aired on November 29, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Monica Brady-Myerov Twitter Reporter
Monica Brady-Myerov was formerly a report in WBUR's newsroom.

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