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Holyoke, Mass., Schools Receiver Cites Growth, Challenges To State Regulators

Stephen Zrike
Greg Saulmon
The Republican/masslive.com/photos
Stephen Zrike

At a meeting of state education regulators on Tuesday, the receiver in charge of the Holyoke, Massachusetts, public schools told the board that while the district is making strides in some areas, it continues to face challenges in others.

Dr. Stephen Zrike said he is pleased with improvements in graduation and drop-out rates, as well as gains in early literacy.

But he said the message to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education was that the district is struggling to retain teachers. And along with that, he said the Holyoke schools have fiscal challenges which make improvement more difficult.

"We're also seeing increases in health care costs, a decline in what we get for charter reimbursement over time -- and then there's also rising costs in out-of-district tuition for students who have significant special needs," Zrike said.

The Holyoke schools, cited as chronically underperforming, were taken over by the state in 2015.

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