Foley Hoag Wins Summary Judgment for Gloucester Community Arts Charter School

January 11, 2012

The Massachusetts Superior Court for Essex County granted summary judgment on behalf of Foley Hoag LLP client Gloucester Community Arts Charter School on Jan. 10, rejecting a request by 15 parents to deem its charter null and void.

In his decision, Judge Robert Cornetta concluded that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the grant of a charter, that the Charter School statute does not provide a private cause of action, and that the evidence demonstrates that the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education complied with the law in awarding the charter.

GGACS was awarded a charter to operate a commonwealth charter school in February 2009. In June 2010, weeks before the school was scheduled to open its doors, the city of Gloucester and 15 parents of Gloucester students brought suit against the school, the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The suit sought a declaration that the school’s charter was null and void and an injunction preventing the school from opening or receiving any state funding.

The ruling in favor of GCACS will allow the school to continue to operate under the five-year charter granted by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The school has doubled its enrollment in its second year of operation and now educates more than 130 students in grades two through eight.

The Foley Hoag legal team included Colin Zick, Tad HeuerRich Baldwin and Sarah Burg.

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