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School Finance: School Choice

Preliminary FY18 School Choice Calculations

This past fall, school choice receiving districts submitted files through the Department's Student Information Management System (SIMS) that listed the school choice students enrolled this fiscal year. Information from these submissions, as well as this fall's FY17 End of Year Financial Reports, was used to estimate annual school choice tuition amounts for FY18.

Local aid distributions are processed on a monthly basis. On or before the last day of each month, the State Treasurer's office assesses approximately one twelfth of the annual charge, and pays one twelfth of the annual tuition receipts, as part of each district's quarterly local aid distribution. Since the annual estimates may change during the year to reflect current enrollments, rate calculations, and special education increments, the monthly calculations will reflect these changes.

A preliminary statewide listing of FY18 school choice full-time equivalent pupils and tuition amounts Download Excel Document for both sending and receiving districts is now available. If there are adjustments to the prior year's calculations they are also shown on the statewide list. This workbook also includes a graph showing 10 year enrollment trends by district.

School choice tuition rates Download Excel Document are calculated separately for regular and vocational programs. Preliminary FY18 school choice tuition rates are set at the lesser of 75 percent of the FY17 operating cost per full-time equivalent pupil for the receiving school district, or the statutory cap of $5,000. All districts' rates are now at the $5,000 cap. If a district's FY17 End of Year Pupil and Financial Report is not yet finalized, its previous year's rate is used.

For special education pupils, an incremental cost is added to their regular or vocational tuition. In these preliminary calculations, the increments are estimates based on either the pupils' prior year special education costs or on statewide averages for the various cost categories.

Superintendents and authorized staff in sending and receiving districts can obtain school choice rosters from the Security Portal. The rosters will show their districts' school choice pupils' names, grades, programs, and other information.

Receiving districts will submit new claim forms in the spring that will be used to calculate final FY18 tuition. Pupils' actual special education costs will also be reported in the spring. The June assessments and payments will reconcile the entire year's transactions to reflect the spring claim form or any other changes that may have been reported.

If you have any questions about this information, please contact Rob O'Donnell in the Office of District and School Finance at (781) 338-6512 or rodonnell@doe.mass.edu.



Last Updated: December 20, 2017
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