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Questions and Answers about the CMVS Application Process

Questions about the prospectus stage of the application process may be emailed to the Office of Digital Learning with the subject line "CMVS Question". Questions regarding the Prospectus must be received by June 24, 2016, while questions regarding the Final Application must be received by September 30, 2016. The Office of Digital Learning will periodically update this page.

Does the Department allow flexibility on the page limits for the prospectus and final application?
No, but additional information may be included in the attachments for select areas.
Are virtual schools required to provide free and reduced meals?
Under M.G.L. c. 69, § 1C, all public schools must make lunches available to students. The applicant may discuss options with the Office of Nutrition, Health and Safety.
Can an applicant request more than $4,925 per pupil?
Yes. Applicants must first identify what they can do with $4,925 per pupil. They may also request a higher amount, which needs to be justified in the application.
Does a virtual school need to track student learning time?
Yes. If the applicant does not apply for a student learning time waiver in their proposal, they will need to explain how learning time will be measured and documented.
Can the CMVS enrollment vary from the numbers given in the prospectus as long as it meets the requirement that five percent of enrolled students reside in the establishing district(s)?
Yes. However, in the final application, the applicant sets targets for enrollment over a five year period, and these targets (maximum enrollment) will become material terms of the certificate if a certificate is granted to the applicant.
Will the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education award certificates each year until the state has ten virtual schools, or will there be a gap between award years?
Up to four additional certificates remain through the 2016-19 school year. Only Massachusetts school districts and education collaboratives may apply to open a CMVS for the 2016-17 school year.
If the board of a collaborative signs onto a partnership to submit an application for a virtual school, does this commit all the members of the collaborative? Do all members of a collaborative need to have a school committee vote to participate and submit a letter of support of the application?
A collaborative is a separate legal entity. The board of the collaborative can commit the collaborative. That vote would need to follow whatever process and procedure is specified in their bylaws. The board of a collaborative does not have authority to commit each individual school district if the school districts are intended to be separate participants. The participation of every entity would require a vote by the individual entity's governing body.
May a collaborative apply to operate a virtual school that only enrolls students who reside in member districts?
Yes. In such a circumstance, proposed members of the CMVS board are nominated by the members of the school committee or the collaborative board and subject to the approval of the Commissioner. The applicant must apply to the Board for a certificate to operate the school, and student enrollment in the school is included under the two percent cap of students statewide attending a CMVS. Unlike a CMVS that serves students statewide, a collaborative or multi-district agreement CMVS is not subject to the five percent requirement because it can only enroll students who reside in member districts, and there is no certificate limit for such schools.

Last Updated: April 8, 2016
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