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Massachusetts Charter Schools

Districts Subject to Changes in the Charter School Cap — 2024 Ranking

The Massachusetts charter school law establishes limits on the amount of Commonwealth charter school tuition that can be charged to a sending school district in any given year. The limits are expressed as a percentage of the district's "net school spending" for that year. Net School Spending (NSS) is a term originally developed as part of the Chapter 70 state aid program. It basically represents the district's spending on school operations from state and local general fund revenues, with the exception of certain types of spending, such as transportation, or funding by grants.

For the majority of districts, the limit for Commonwealth charter school tuition payments is 9 percent of the district's NSS. The charter school law, however, provides for a higher limit in school districts ranked in the lowest 10 percent of all statewide student performance scores based on the MCAS results from the two most recent school years. [See MGL c.71, s.89(i); 603 CMR 1.04(9).] The limit on charter school tuition costs for these districts is 18 percent of the district's NSS. There are no comparable tuition limits for Horace Mann charter schools.

The district ranking is calculated each year to identify the districts subject to the higher limit of 18 percent NSS. The ranking is provided to school districts and potential charter applicants well in advance of each year's application cycle. The 2024 ranking :

  • is based on 2022 and 2023 MCAS results;
  • informs the 2024-25 charter application cycle, with Board decisions on new charter applications and expansion requests to be made generally by February 2025; and
  • establishes tuition caps for the 2025-26 school year.

The ranking is not intended to be used for any other evaluative purpose and is unrelated to the annual performance determinations made for schools and districts within the state's accountability system. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 district ranking was in place for the 2021, 2022, and 2023 district rankings as set forth in Charter 29, Section 59 of the Acts of 2021. See the 2020 district ranking which governed the 2023-24 application cycle and the tuition caps for the 2024-25 school year.

Of the 29 operating districts subject to the higher 18 percent NSS cap in the 2024 ranking, 20 also appeared on the previous ranking, while nine are added to the list, replacing nine districts that have exited the lowest 10 percent.

Districts that will enter the lowest 10%
2024 Ranking
Districts that will exit the lowest 10%
2024 Ranking
Pioneer ValleyFlorida
Spencer-East BrookfieldWorcester
Districts Subject to 18% NSS Cap — 2024 Ranking
EverettPioneer Valley
Fall RiverPittsfield
Hoosac Valley RegionalSouthbridge
LawrenceSpencer-E Brookfield
New BedfordWebster
North AdamsWinchendon
North Brookfield

Districts in bold will enter the lowest 10 percent ranking for 2024.

For districts that exit the lowest 10 percent, their NSS cap will be set between 9 percent and 18 percent based upon requirements in the charter school law to reflect current NSS levels and previously approved charter school enrollment, when applicable.

What is the purpose of the lowest 10 percent district ranking?

Please contact the Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign for further information at 781-338-3227 or .

Lowest 10% District Rankings from Prior Charter Application Cycles

Last Updated: April 9, 2024

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