State Taking Over Holyoke’s Morgan Elementary School

State education officials are taking over four Massachusetts schools, including Holyoke’s Morgan Elementary School.

The schools have been on probation of sorts for three years and haven’t improved, says state education commissioner Mitchell Chester.

So Chester will take control of the school’s finances, craft a turnaround plan and decide whether he wants an outside group to implement it, or task the Holyoke district itself with that job.

“I won’t foreclose any of these options prematue,” he says. “For me, I need to find the best path forward to secure for students a much stronger education than the one they’ve been getting up until now,”

And as for staff at the school: Chester says the law allows him – if he chooses – to make all the teachers reapply for their jobs and also make changes to union contracts. But he says those decisions will be made after a group of local stakeholders offer suggestions.

In a statement, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse says he will advocate for a plan that “actively includes” school district staff. And he thanked teachers and parents for their patience during the transition.