Frequently Asked Questions
Updated December 19, 2013
- A. Background
B. Funding and Participating School Districts
C. Student Enrollment and Program Placement
D. Metco Program Demographics
F. Program Contact Information
B. Funding and Participating School Districts
B.1. How is the Metco program funded?
The state funds the Metco program on an annual basis. The proposed FY14 State Budget language for the Metco program reads as follows:
Line item 7010-0012
"For grants to cities, towns and regional school districts for payments of certain costs and related expenses for the program to eliminate racial imbalance in attendance, established under section 12A of chapter 76 of the General Laws; provided, that funds shall be made available for payment for services rendered by Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO), Inc. and Springfield public schools; provided further, that all grant applications submitted to and approved by the department of elementary and secondary education shall include a detailed line item budget specifying how the funds shall be allocated and expended; provided further, that the secretary of education shall report not later than July 1, 2014 to the house and senate committees on ways and means on student achievement growth by METCO students relative to their peers in both sending and receiving districts and on the academic success of former METCO students who attended 2 and 4 year public colleges and universities in the commonwealth relative to their peers from both sending and receiving districts at said public institutions of higher education, including enrollment in remedial coursework, grade point averages and college graduation rates; provided further, that the subject of the report shall be the graduating class of 2013 and other grade levels for which data are available; and provided further, that METCO, Inc., shall make available to the secretary of education information necessary to complete said report ...... $18,642,582"
B.2. How do receiving districts and the service provider get funded for their participation in the program?
Each year, the participating school districts respond to the Metco RFP (Request for Proposal) prepared by the Department. By submitting a response districts reaffirm their desire to continue participation in the program. After the proposal is submitted to the Department the budget is reviewed and the grant then goes through the Grants Management system. Funding is distributed monthly to receiving school districts.
B.3. What is the role of the service provider?
METCO Inc.'s primary functions are to conduct registration and placement of students into the program and to act as a link between the Metco community and receiving school districts. Additionally, METCO Inc. provides after school tutoring, parent information meetings, and counseling. METCO Inc. also works with the Department in carrying out policy recommendations, such as having Metco placements that reflect the diversity of Boston Public Schools and that Metco students are placed in districts based upon their application date.
METCO Inc. has a process in place that is intended to ensure fairness and objectivity in placement and maintenance of students in the program.
B.4. What school districts participate in the Metco program?
In FY14 Boston and Springfield sent pupils to 37 school districts. A list of participating school districts may be found at Metco Districts and Grant Allocations page.
B.5. What is the difference between School Choice funding and Metco funding?
Metco is funded via state appropriation as a grant. The grant is based upon prior year enrollment. In FY14, the amount awarded to Metco school districts will be around $5,259 per pupil. This amount is comprised of an instructional allotment of $3,447 per pupil and an average transportation allotment of $1,812 per pupil.
Under the Massachusetts School Choice Program, the residential district of the student or the regional school district pays for the tuition for the student. Tuition is based on the prior year's costs. Regular Day, Bilingual, and Occupational Education are 75% of the actual per pupil cost and are capped at $5,000. There is no limit set for Special Education; costs depend on the services called for in the student's IEP. Transportation may be provided for School Choice students at the option of the receiving districts; the state does not provide any assistance for this cost.
Students in the Metco program are included in their receiving district's October 1 counts for state Chapter 70 and federal special education funding and may be claimed by the receiving Metco district under the special education circuit breaker program, if applicable.
Students participating in the School Choice program are included in their sending district's counts for Chapter 70 foundation enrollment, federal special education funding, and claiming for the special education circuit breaker program, as applicable. Most other funding programs count the School Choice pupils in the receiving district's enrollment.
B.6. May a school district join or withdraw from the Metco Program?
A school district's participation in the Metco Program is voluntary. A school district could join the Metco Program at any time by getting initial approval from its school committee and by contacting the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. However, given the low reimbursement and the present level funding of the program, it is unclear exactly how a school district could join without additional overall funding to the program itself. Although a school district can 'withdraw' from the Metco Program, the decision would only be made after careful discussion and consideration. A school district should meet with representatives of METCO Inc. and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education before making such intentions public.