Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


August 8, 2013

Charter school proposal raises plenty of questions


Birnbach told The Townsman this week that he wasn’t intending his proposal to be controversial, that STEAM Studio would simply serve as a complement to what’s being offered at Andover High School by providing interested students and parents another public school alternative.

He also said a charter school would be one way of easing what are very real concerns with overcrowding at the high school that will need to be addressed in the not-so-distant future.

All of that may be true. But Birnbach needs to be more transparent with the process and his intentions. And at some point, he may have to take a hard look at where his allegiances lie.

It would appear it might grow difficult being an advocate for the existing public school structure in Andover while also promoting a new charter school that would create an “exciting high school experience” for as many as 450 students in the years to come. And take away public funding from the existing schools in Andover in the process.

We urge Birnbach to give a presentation on his proposal to not only school officials, but the community. And we recommend he consider in the weeks to come where his priorities rest and decide whether he can fully carry out his duties on the School Committee while also promoting the creation of an alternative school in town, however exciting the concept may or may not be.

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