Ed board approves state takeover of Southbridge schools

SOUTHBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — The Massachusetts Board of Education has voted to back a state takeover of the Southbridge Public Schools.

The board voted Tuesday to authorize state education commissioner Mitchell Chester to appoint a receiver to oversee the schools in the town of about 17,000 residents.

Chester calls the move a “measure of last resort.” It comes after the school system was designated as “chronically underperforming.”

A recent review found Southbridge to be among the state’s lowest-performing school districts on the MCAS exams. About one-third of middle and high school students failed at least one course last year. Nearly one in five were suspended at least once.

The receiver would hold all the powers of a school superintendent and school committee.

Two other school districts, Lawrence and Holyoke, are currently under state control.

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