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With plans for a new charter school to open in West Springfield, the mayor is speaking out with his concerns.

The charter school is defending itself by saying it’ll be a good thing for the community.

The Hampden Charter School that's been in Chicopee since 2009 is expanding by adding an additional school in West Springfield as early as September.

West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt is concerned as he believes the charter school will be competing with traditional public schools for state funding.

The Hampden Charter School of Science is a public charter school for grades 6-12. Charter schools are public schools but offer a different type of free public education. "With the charter school coming we are looking at losing over $1 million out of our school budget and I can't just continue to operate without $1 million. We have to make that up, so we have to go back to the property tax payers and say we need another million dollars because this school is coming and only certain kids get to go here," Mayor Reichelt said. Hampden Charter School of Science students still have to take MCAS tests just like at any other public schools, but charter schools can be closed if they don’t perform to standards.

The reason it exists is to improve the public education. I think its a great addition to our public school system," said C.O.O. of Hampden Charter School Tarkan Topcuogleu. For kids like Maryam Muhammed, a senior at Hampden Charter, the news of the school being available to more kids, is great news. "I wish that there were more schools like this. I wish I went to this school at a younger age. For other kids in other regions to get this opportunity i think its a great thing," said Muhammad. Some West Springfield residents said they feel a little like their opinions didn’t matter in this decision, and they are worried.

Mayor Reichelt told Western Mass News there are private school options for families who want that for their children. "Those schools exist but they are not funded with public tax payer dollars. This charter school is. The idea of smaller class sizes and more dedicated teaching is what we strive for in the public schools," he added. Despite push back, the Hampden Charter School is scheduled to open in September.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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