The state board of education in Massachettts approved a new charter for Worcester that plans to siphon state funds to subsidize a museum, Old Sturbridge Village.

Local officials, including the mayor, opposed the new charter. It was supported by officials from other charter schools and from Old Sturbridge Village.

Concerns included nearly $7 million that would be taken from the Worcester Public School district’s budget; that the school would act as a revenue stream for Old Sturbridge Village; and that it would not provide anything new that the Worcester Public School district does not already offer to its students.

Ties to Diocese of Worcester

Mailman [a school committee member] raised concerns over the school’s ties to the Diocese of Worcester, with which it has a lease agreement at 81 Plantation St., where the school would be located upon opening, and how that could impact things like sex education curriculum and treatment of LGBTQ+ students.

Concerns had been raised previously about the lease agreement and that it would not allow the school to teach material that is “inconsistent with the doctrines or teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, ” in the building.

Louise Burrell, a parent from Worcester who said she was speaking on behalf of other parents, said she was concerned that the organization behind the proposed school has not had any contact with families in the district.

She also had concerns about how the budget drain would exacerbate increased class sizes and staffing shortages, and have a negative impact on vulnerable students, particularly those who are Black, Indigenous or other persons of color.

Who benefits? Not the vast majority of children in Worcester. They will have larger classes so that a charter can choose the 350 students it wants.