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State Takes Over Lawrence Public Schools

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MALDEN (CBS) – The state of Massachusetts will take over the troubled Lawrence public school system.

It’s the first time the Commonwealth has taken over a school district for academic reasons.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted Tuesday to designate Lawrence a “chronically underperforming” district.

The vote allows state education commissioner Mitchell Chester to appoint a receiver for the district.

That receiver, an individual or a non-profit group, will have all the powers of the superintendent and school committee and will report directly to the commissioner.

“If I’m a parent there, I see good things coming the way of my children because the board has taken the strong action they’ve taken today,” Education Secretary Paul Reville told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

A recent review described the district as chronically underperforming, with ineffective leadership and governance.

According to the state Department of Education, less than half of Lawrence’s students graduate from high school within four years.

That’s the lowest graduation rate of any non-charter district in the state.

Chester is expected to name a receiver in the next two weeks, with the goal that the receiver will take over in January.

The state has taken over the Chelsea and Holyoke school districts in the past, but both were due to fiscal constraints.

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