Last spring, there was a heated debate about a proposed charter school in Brockton, Massachusetts. Many members of the Brockton community said that they did not want a private charter to compete with their public schools. Some said they did. The state board of education approved the charter 7-3.

It was supposed to open this fall. But it won’t be opening because it is not ready. Worse, it is under enrolled. No lottery, no waiting list.

Tracy Novick wrote on her blog (and includes a link to the discussion at the state board’s meeting) about the Brockton situation.

Also, as of the July 19 Brockton School Committee meeting, parents of only 170 students filled out the required release forms to transfer student records to the New Heights Charter School. The charter school said it plans to serve 315 students in its first year. Deputy Superintendent Michael Thomas broke down the numbers, stating that release forms were signed for 65 sixth graders, 60 seventh graders and 45 eight graders.

Almost half the seats in the unopened charter are empty.

Strange, because right after the charter school was approved over local opposition, its leaders claimed that it had received more than 600 applications and more arrived every day. As the Boston Globe put it, the charter was “deluged” by applications, with 40 or more new ones every day. Yet only 170 students actually were prepared to enter.