Ed chief blows through charter school deadline

Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor’s long history with the state’s largest network of charter schools have drawn some concerns about whether that would translate to his supporting an influx in new charter school seats.

Well, it looks like education circles will just have to wait to see, as Pryor has blown through the deadline to accept or reject this year’s round of applications for new charters. Seven people and/or organizations applied to open new schools for a total of an additional 1,600 new seats.

State law requires the decision be made within 90 days. That deadline was Jan. 8.

Mark Linabury, a spokesman for the State Department of Education, wrote in an email statement that his agency, “requires additional time to review the most recent set of charter applications. We will be communicating to the applicants our need for further time to evaluate their submissions. The Department will provide updates on our timeline in the near future.”

Just how much time the department intends to take is not clear. State law also requires a public hearing  to take place where the schools would be located. There have not been announcements of such a public hearing in Hartford, New Haven, Norwich, Norwalk or Waterbury.

Allan Taylor, the chairman of the State Board of Education, said he is not aware of any recommendations from the commissioner for the board to approve at its meeting next week.

Two new charter schools have opened in the state in the last six years, although 20 applications were filed. The state didn’t accept applications at all in 2006 and 2009.