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Massachusetts Charter Schools

2013-2014 Charter School Pre-Enrollment, Significant Expansion, and NSS "Near-Cap" Information

Charter School Leaders and Business Managers
Cliff Chuang, Associate Commissioner
February 26, 2013


The deadline for submitting the Charter School Pre-Enrollment Report for the 2013-2014 school year is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 15, 2013. The Charter School Pre-Enrollment Report is used by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) to collect projected enrollment data in order to determine each charter school's first quarter tuition payment for fiscal year 2013. This Pre-Enrollment Report represents the maximum number of students on which each charter school's tuition calculation will be based for the upcoming fiscal year. It is also used to notify sending school districts by April 1st, as required by law, of the number of students enrolled in charter schools for the upcoming school year.

Information included in this memorandum includes:

  1. Instructions for 2013-2014 Charter School Pre-Enrollment data submission
  2. Instructions for 2013-2014 Charter School "Significant Expansion" data submission
  3. Regulatory Notification of 2013-2014 "Near-Cap" Sending Districts for Commonwealth charter schools

  1. Instructions for 2013-2014 Charter School Pre-Enrollment data submission

    The web user interface for the Charter School Pre-Enrollment application for this year remains unchanged from the 2012-2013 school year. Once again, the school leader is required to submit the data, even if someone else enters the data. I encourage you to allow enough time prior to submission for a careful check of the data as it cannot be changed once submitted.

    Complete instructions are located within the Charter School Pre-Enrollment web application itself, which will be accessible through the ESE Security Portal beginning March 1, 2013. All charter schools are required to submit pre-enrollment data for the 2013-2014 school year by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 15, 2013.

  2. Instructions for 2013-2014 Charter School "Significant Expansion" data submission

    The deadline for submitting significant expansion information to the Department is 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30, 2013. Joanna Laghetto from the Charter School Office will inform each school that is required to submit this report. Federal entitlement grant formulas usually rely on prior year data. For new or significantly expanding charter schools, this data is often inaccurate and does not generate a revenue stream that serves the school's current year population. The Charter School Expansion Act of 1998 addressed this issue by amending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to require that state educational agencies take measures to ensure that charter schools receive the federal-to-state formula funds (e.g., Title I, Title II, and IDEA funds, among others) for which they are eligible within five months of opening or expanding their enrollment.

    Federal regulations define significant expansion of enrollment as a "substantial increase in the number of students attending a charter school due to a significant event that is unlikely to occur on a regular basis, such as the addition of one or more grades or educational programs in major curriculum areas." Minor increases in enrollment caused by normal turnover are not considered significant expansion. In Massachusetts, the Department's criteria for determining whether a charter school has experienced a significant expansion of enrollment are:

    1. The charter school's enrollment based on October 1 Student Information Management System (SIMS) is at least 10 percent greater than the previous year; and
    2. The charter school is expanding for one of the following reasons:
      1. adding one or more grades according to a growth plan;
      2. an approved amendment by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to the school's charter to increase enrollment;
      3. relocation to new space that allows for approved expansion previously restricted by inadequate facilities.

    In order to ensure that the Department has accurate enrollment numbers from which to calculate allocations for entitlement grants, new or significantly expanding charter schools must provide the projected enrollment data for the 2013-2014 school year for Low Income (SIMS Data Element DOE 019), Special Education (SIMS Data element DOE034), and Limited English Proficient (SIMS Data element DOE025) students. New or significantly expanding charter schools should make every effort to submit accurate projections based on information collected via student enrollment/registration forms after offers of admission have been extended to prospective students or by using data from students' sending districts.

    Data will be collected via the Charter School Sig. Expansion web application, which will be accessible through the ESE Security Portal in April. The deadline is 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30, 2013. Instructions will be available within the web application itself. Please note that FY14 final allocations may be adjusted to reflect actual enrollment data collected in October 2013 via SIMS.

  3. Notification of 2013-2014 "Near-Cap" Sending Districts for Commonwealth charter schools only

    Charter school regulations state "the Department shall notify each Commonwealth charter school no later than February 15 of any limitation on the number of students from a district that may be enrolled in charter schools for the upcoming year" (603 CMR 1.06(4)(c)).[1]

    (1Note: A notice containing preliminary "near-cap" information was previously sent to charter school leaders and board chairs via email on February 15, 2013. This memo contains updated detail and information.)

    The charter school statute, M.G.L. Chapter 71, Section 89(i), stipulates that no school district's total charter school payments shall exceed 9 percent of the district's net school spending (NSS cap). However, charter school tuition may exceed 9 percent but no more than 18 percent if the charter school is located in a district that is in the lowest 10 percent of all statewide student performance scores (see Districts Subject to Increases in the Charter School Cap page). Using projected FY14 enrollment numbers for charter schools, projected FY14 tuition rates, and required FY14 NSS figures, the School Finance Unit has calculated preliminary projections of each sending district's FY14 enrollment against the 9 percent (or higher, as appropriate) NSS cap, which is contained in the attached spreadsheet.

    Based on the Department's understanding of charter school growth plans for FY14, the attached analysis projects the number of "seats" that will remain for charter school enrollment in each sending district, after the FY14 enrollment process has been completed. Based on this analysis, the Department has determined that the following school districts are "near-cap" districts (projected to have either less than 10 FTE seats remaining or to have charter tuition assessments above less than one-half percent of NSS away from the relevant cap, e.g. 8.50 percent of NSS in a 9 percent NSS cap district, and 14.5% of NSS in a 15% NSS cap district):

    LEA CodeDistrict
    221Oak Bluffs
    620Berlin Boylston
    632Chesterfield Goshen

    In only these districts, charter schools may exercise the option to skip over students who apply for enrollment in accordance with 603 CMR 1.06(4)(e). After charter schools have submitted their pre-enrollment data, the Department will release FY14 tuition projections in mid to late April, at which time the FTE Remaining Under NSS Cap analysis presented above, as well as the "near-cap" district list, will also be adjusted. If seats become available, charter schools should enroll students from the waitlist-some of whom may have been previously skipped-if a particular sending district is no longer on this "near-cap" list. Please note that in the event that a sending district's tuition assessment exceeds the NSS cap, the Department will prorate equally that district's tuition assessment among all charter schools enrolling students from that district.

Please feel free to contact Joanna Laghetto at 781-338-3221 or with any questions or concerns regarding the information contained in this memorandum.


Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
FY14 Pre-Enrollment Instructions
Download MS EXCEL Document
FY14 NSS Near Cap Analysis

Last Updated: March 1, 2013
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