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Approval seen for Horace Mann charters in Salem, Springfield, but no new Commonwealth schools

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BOSTON — Final approval is expected for proposed Horace Mann charter schools in Springfield and Salem.

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has a Tuesday vote scheduled on the UP Academy Charter School in Springfield and the Bentley Academy Charter School in Salem.

The Springfield charter would serve up to 800 students in grades 6-8 and begin operations in 2016. The Salem school proposes to serve 350 K-5 students starting later this year.

Horace Mann charter schools must be approved by and receive funding from their local school districts.

Charter school advocates are disappointed that state education officials did not recommend approval of any proposed Commonwealth charters, which operate independently from local school committees.

It marks the first time since 1996 that no new Commonwealth charter school applications have won approval.

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