NEW BEDFORD — The memorandum of understanding between the City of New Bedford and a charter school has been signed, clearing another hurdle in the school's proposed expansion.

Mayor Jon Mitchell, New Bedford School Superintendent Thomas Anderson, and Alma del Mar Charter School founder and executive director Will Gardner signed the memorandum of understanding, which must now receive approval from the New Bedford School Committee and the Alma del Mar Board of Trustees before it goes into effect.

Both parties were given an initial February 25 deadline to come up with and sign an MOU after the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education approved a compromise plan between the City and Alma del Mar to add 450 new student positions within the vacant Kempton School on Shawmut Avenue. The DESE later extended the deadline to March 12.

Alma del Mar's Board of Trustees plans to meet Monday at 5 p.m. at the charter school to vote on the MOU. The New Bedford School Committee's next regularly scheduled meeting is April 8, but it's not yet known if a special meeting to discuss the MOU will be held prior to that date.

Under the MOU, Alma del Mar will assume all responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of the Kempton School, which will be granted to them by the City of New Bedford at no cost if approved by the School Committee and the City Council.

The new campus will operate on a neighborhood model, only enrolling students who live within a certain radius of the school. The exact parameters of the neighborhood zone have yet to be determined.

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