Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester calls Split-Decision to Place School District in Receivership an “Opportunity”
In the Gateway City of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, the state’s top authorities on education voted 8-3 in favor of receivership for the Holyoke school district. The district earned a level 5” rating which, according to the Massachusetts Department of Education, places it among “the most serious category in Massachusetts’ accountability system,” because it “failed to improve as required by the goals, benchmarks, or timetable of its redesign plan.” The downgrade making the district eligible for receivership was authorized by Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester.
A receiver is appointed as a remedy in connection with litigation involving assets and/or real property. Receivers are considered arms of the court and generally are appointed to preserve the underlying asset pending resolution of the underlying litigation. A limited purpose receiver may be appointed over the collateral for a loan, or over an entire company, in which case the receiver is known as an equity receiver. The “Gateway City” compact, which instated an alliance between economically-bound cities, implies that administrative authority should rest within the hands of local government (here, “community”).
The quality of the education young people receive shapes their futures, as well as the future of the community and beyond. Therefore, the wariness of the citizens of Massachusetts in relegating the fate of another school district to the state’s whim is understandable. Commissioner Chester and his supporters, however, see this shift in authority as a necessary step toward retooling a failing school district so that its students may be saved.
The Next Step
With Superintendent of Schools Sergio Paez and the Holyoke School Committee stripped of their authority, many are left wondering to whom the state receiver will be accountable. The day before the vote, most of the 800 members of the community that gathered to discuss the impending decision voiced their opposition to receivership. Commissioner Chester assured the community of his commitment to the “improvement” of Holyoke. He claimed that “additional resources, additional capacity, [and] a deeper partnership with the state” are required, moving forward, for the betterment of the young people and the community at large.
The Commissioner views the vote as an “opportunity,” and urges his detractors to do the same, stating that “what we’re talking about here is creating the conditions in which Holyoke can succeed and for that there’s really no reason to wait.” Commissioner Chester will serve as Holyoke Public Schools’ receiver, until such time as he appoints his replacement for said position. Lawrence School District is the only  other receivership currently in existence in Massachusetts.
When a governing body demonstrates an inability to effectively administer its duties, receivership actions may be an important tool in achieving proper financial turnaround and effective asset management. FedReceiver Inc. comprises a team of highly experienced receivers – court-appointed in hundreds of state and federal cases to manage troubled enterprises. For more information about our company or if you need a California court appointed receiver, visit our website
Education — http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/04/education_commissioner_mitchel_1.html
Schools — http://www.doe.mass.edu/apa/sss/turnaround/level5/schools/
Media — http://www.umassd.edu/media/umassdartmouth/seppce/centerforpolicyanalysis/urbaninitiative/gatewaycities/signedcompact.pdf
Public — http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/04/takeaways_on_holyoke_public.html