SECTION 1. Section 1J of chapter 69 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting, after subsection (w), the following new subsection:-
(w ½) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, any underperforming or chronically underperforming public school that requires further improvement or has failed to improve, following the commissioner’s review as detailed in subsection (w), may be subject to further turnaround plans, as initiated by a petition signed by the parents of a majority of the students enrolled at said underperforming or chronically underperforming school.
If the commissioner is presented, in the time and manner specified by commissioner rule, a written petition signed by the parents of a majority of the students enrolled at said underperforming or chronically underperforming, specifying one or more of the actions described below by subdivisions (1) through (3), inclusive, that the parents request the commissioner to order, the commissioner shall, except as otherwise authorized by this subsection, order the specific action requested. If the school committee of the said district in which the underperforming or chronically underperforming school is located presents to the commissioner, in the time and manner specified by commissioner rule, a written request that the commissioner order specific action authorized by said subdivisions (1) through (3), inclusive, other than the specific action requested in the parents’ petition and a written explanation of the basis for the school committee’s request, the commissioner may order the action requested by the school committee.
Under this subsection, the commissioner shall have the authority to order the following actions:
(1) repurposing of the underperforming or chronically underperforming school;
(2) closure of the underperforming or chronically underperforming school; or
(3) educational choice, whereby students of the underperforming or chronically underperforming school are offered a monetary voucher to cover the cost of attendance at any private or other public school.
SECTION 3. This Act shall be effective beginning with the 2014-2015 school year.
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