Mayor Menino plans to ask the state legislature for permission to eliminate the current limit on BPS charter schools - which could mean ceding day-to-day operations to private non-profit groups - and give them the right to serve only particular zones, rather than having to accept students from across the city.
In a sweeping proposal that would also let the city extend hours and and send more resources to schools that are only almost failing, the mayor proposes requiring all charter schools - including those not overseen at all by the city - to set aside seats for students with disabilities and students whose first language is not English. He says this would "level the playing field" between city schools and private charter schools.
"For years, I've worked with my partners on Beacon Hill to advance important education reforms and it's time again to push the envelope when it comes to education reform in Massachusetts," Menino said in a statement.
Menino would require legislative action to create more "in-house" charter schools, such as the UP Academy Charter School of Boston, which is run by a non-profit group that is being given control of the Marshall School in Dorchester, with the promise of longer school days and higher standards. The proposed legislation would also remove Boston Teachers Union say on their charter renewals.
His proposal would also give the city the ability to send extra help to and set longer hours at more schools than currently allowed - from deeply troubled schools to moderately troubled schools. About half the city's schools would fall into this new category.