Projected FY21 Charter School Tuition and Enrollment
The following early rate projections are provided to assist Commonwealth charter schools and school districts with their budget preparations for fiscal year 2021. These estimates are based on Governor Baker's House 2 budget and reflect the passage in November 2019 of An Act Relative to Educational Opportunity for Students — commonly known as the Student Opportunity Act (the Act). The Act makes significant changes to the Foundation Budget Rate formula, based in large part on the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission (FBRC). The updated formula is codified in chapter 70 of the general laws.
These estimates are subject to change as the House and Senate deliberate on the budget, and as we update our enrollment projections for the next fiscal year.
Key points on Foundation Budget Rates
These are live rates, derived from each school's October 1, 2019 SIMS enrollment.
Foundation budgets have been raised by a 1.99 percent inflation factor.
Full detail and explanations on the Governor's changes to the foundation budget are available. Some highlights:
The Act establishes new, higher foundation budget rates in five areas: benefits and fixed charges, guidance and psychological services, special education out of district tuition, English learners, and low income students, all to be phased in over a seven-year period.
A new employee benefits inflation rate is applied to the employee benefits and fixed charges category. This is based on the enrollment-weighted, three-year average premium increase for all Group Insurance Commission plans; for FY21 the increase is 2.34%.
The Act reinstates the definition of low income enrollment used prior to FY17, based on 185% of the federal poverty level. It replaces the "economically disadvantaged" designation (based on 133% of the federal poverty level) used from FY17 through FY20. For FY21, the low income enrollment is the higher of: (a) the number of students matched through the Department's current direct certification process (which identifies students whose families have been approved for various federal and state benefit programs); or (b) the FY16 low income percentage multiplied by current foundation enrollment.
The Act increases the assumed in-district special education enrollment to 4% for non-vocational students. As this is being phased in over 7 years, the factor used in FY21 is 3.82%, a change from 3.79% in FY20.
Key points on Charter District Aid:
House 2 proposed aid is $138.2M. This appropriation level is expected to meet or exceed the 75% requirement when tuition assessments are updated to reflect actual enrollments and district spending levels.
The Governor's budget level funds the per pupil Facilities Rate at $938, with this cost fully reimbursed by the state as in prior years.
Below you will find links to workbooks housing the FY21 charter school tuition and reimbursements based on the frameworks above. These amounts will be used by the Department of Revenue in their preliminary cherry sheet estimates.
Sending District Summary, showing enrollment, tuition, and aid
Charter School Summary, showing enrollment and tuition
Foundation Budgets, showing foundation enrollments and budgets, as well as their underlying calculations
Low Income, showing how low income enrollment is determined
Rate Summary, provides a full list of current rates by charter, location, and sending district (chalocsend), as well as prior year rates and demographics, where available.
Questions about the charter tuition program should be addressed to Hadley Cabral in the Office of District and School Finance at (781) 338-6586 or . firstname.lastname@example.org