Lawsuit To Be Filed Over Charter School Cap

Three lawyers from top Boston law firms plan to file a lawsuit arguing the state is violating the rights of students by capping the number of charter schools.

Paul Ware, Michael Keating and William Lee announced their intention Sunday. The attorneys say the limit means many students cannot get an adequate public education as guaranteed by the Massachusetts Constitution.

"We feel it's the right thing for the community because a high percentage of the children excluded from public charter schools at this juncture are minority children, and we just don't think that's right," Ware, a partner with Goodwin Procter, told WBUR's Newsroom.

Gov. Charlie Baker's spokesman said he wouldn't comment on pending litigation, but noted Baker has consistently supported raising the cap.

The publicly funded schools operate independently of local districts and are given more flexibility on curriculum, schedules and staffing. Critics say they often aren't more effective than traditional public schools, from which they divert funding.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association said Sunday charter schools don't serve all students equally and a lawsuit could further threaten public education.

"I would challenge these lawyers to take a different approach, to sue the state to fund education for all our children," Lisa Guisbond, executive director of Citizens for Public Schools, a group that opposes the expansion of charter schools, told WBUR's Newsroom.

Massachusetts has 80 charter schools with 30,000 students overall.

With reporting from the WBUR Newsroom and The Associated Press.

This article was originally published on March 09, 2015.


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