Stay informed about Coronavirus — COVID-19. Learn more

Massachusetts Charter Schools

2015-2016 Pre-Enrollment, NSS "Near Cap", Waitlist Data & Webinar Information

To:Charter School Leaders and Business Managers
From:Cliff Chuang, Associate Commissioner
Date:February 17, 2015

The deadline for submitting the Charter School Pre-Enrollment Report for the 2015-2016 school year is 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 16, 2015. The Charter School Pre-Enrollment Report is used by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) to collect projected enrollment data in order to determine each charter school's first five monthly tuition payments for fiscal year 2016(FY16). This report represents the maximum number of students on which each charter school's tuition calculation will be based for the upcoming fiscal year. It is also used to notify sending school districts by April 1st, as required by law, of the number of students enrolled in charter schools for the upcoming school year. The Charter School Waitlist Report will be due in parallel with the Pre-Enrollment report on Monday, March 16, 2015 by 5:00 p.m.

Information included in this memorandum includes:

  1. Instructions for 2015-2016 Charter School Pre-Enrollment data submission:

    The web user interface for the Charter School Pre-Enrollment web application remains the same as last year as because waitlist data is now submitted separately, schools are no longer required to input this data into the Pre-Enrollment application. Once again, the school leader is required to submit the data, even if someone else enters the data. I encourage you to allow enough time prior to submission for a careful check of the data as it cannot be changed once submitted.

    Complete instructions are located within the Charter School Pre-Enrollment web application itself, which will be accessible through the DESE Security Portal beginning February 27, 2015. All charter schools are required to submit pre-enrollment data for the 2015-2016 school year by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 16, 2015.

  2. Regulatory Notification of 2015-2016 "Near-Cap" Sending Districts for Commonwealth charter schools

    Charter school regulations state "the Department shall notify each Commonwealth charter school no later than February 15 of any limitation on the number of students from a district that may be enrolled in charter schools for the upcoming year."

    The charter school statute, M.G.L. Chapter 71, Section 89(i), stipulates that no school district's total charter school payments shall exceed 9 percent of the district's net school spending (NSS cap). Charter school tuition may exceed 9 percent (up to 17% in FY16) if the school is located in a district that is in the lowest 10 percent of all statewide student performance scores1. Using projected FY16 enrollment numbers for charter schools, projected FY16 tuition rates, and required FY16 NSS figures, the School Finance Unit has calculated preliminary projections of each sending district's FY16 enrollment against the 9 percent NSS cap or the 17 percent NSS cap if applicable, which is contained in the attached spreadsheet.

    Download Excel Document
    FY16 Projected NSS NearCap

    Based on the Department's understanding of charter school growth plans for FY16, the attached analysis projects the number of "seats" that will remain for charter school enrollment in each sending district, after the FY16 enrollment process has been completed. Based on this analysis, the Department has determined that the following school districts are "near-cap" districts (if they are projected to have either less than 10 FTE seats remaining or to have charter tuition assessments above 8.5 percent of NSS or 16.5 percent of NSS (if applicable):

    0221Oak Bluffs
    0406Northampton Smith
    0632Chesterfield Goshen

    In only these districts, charter schools may exercise the option to skip over students who apply for enrollment in accordance with 603 CMR 1.06(4)(e). After charter schools have submitted their pre-enrollment data, the Department will release FY16 tuition projections in mid to late April, at which time the FTE Remaining Under NSS Cap analysis presented above, as well as the "near-cap" district list, will also be adjusted. If seats become available, charter schools should enroll students from the waitlist-some of whom may have been previously skipped-if a particular sending district is no longer on this "near-cap" list. Please note that in the event that a sending district's tuition assessment exceeds the applicable percent NSS cap, the Department will prorate equally that district's tuition assessment among all charter schools enrolling students from that district.

  3. Waitlist submission

    Each school will once again be required to submit their waitlist to the Department by 5:00 pm on Monday, March 16, 2015. This list will contain your school's FY16 waitlist as of your most recent lottery and should reflect an accurate student waitlist for the upcoming school year. This FY16 Charter School Student-Level Waitlist Report should be completed using the Excel template named FY16 Charter School Waitlist Template that will be uploaded to the school's Charter School File Exchange dropbox within the DESE Security Portal. Please note, the use of the excel template is required and submissions not using the template will not be accepted.

    Once again the Department requests that each charter school provide the following data elements for each student included in their current waitlist:

    First NameLast NameMiddle NameDate of Birth (MM/DD/YYYY)Town CodeFY16 Grade

    Please follow the detailed instructions listed in the Instructions tab in the workbook.

    If your current charter school student application does not ask for a middle name, please revise it. It is very important for the Department's matching process to collect middle names. This change does not require approval by your DESE Accountability Liaison or any type of an amendment.

    As with all data collections, the Department may review a sample of the waitlist data reported by charter schools and may require certification. Therefore, please ensure that your charter school's enrollment process is clearly documented. Specifically, please be sure that you have carefully tracked the seats available at the time of the lottery (if applicable) and maintain records of all applications received.

  4. Significant Expansion

    After the pre-enrollment data has been collected, it will be determined if a school's enrollment falls under the definition of Significant Expansion. If so, the school will be informed and given the instructions for an additional report that must be submitted by April 30, 2015.

  5. Webinar

    This year, we will be offering a Pre-Enrollment and Waitlist Report Submission Webinars to guide new staff or as a refresher for veteran staff. The webinars will be offered on Tuesday March 3, 2015 and Thursday, March 5, 2015, both from 2:00-3:00. The registration link will be posted on our website soon.


Questions Regarding the Pre-enrollment submission:

Please feel free to contact Joanna Laghetto at 781-338-3221 or or James DiMaio at 781-3358-3218 or

Questions Regarding the Waitlist submission:

Please feel free to contact Lee DeLorenzo at 781-338-3227 or or Brenton Stewart at 781-338-3214 or

1 Chapter 283, section 4, of the Acts of 2014 states that if a district is no longer in the lowest 10 percent of all statewide student performance, the net school spending cap shall be 9 per cent; provided, however, that if the board of elementary and secondary education previously approved (prior to July 1, 2014) a higher level of enrollment for a charter school in the district while the district was in the lowest 10 per cent, the net school spending cap shall remain at the level necessary to support such enrollment. Charter schools drawing from such districts should contact the Department for further guidance.

Last Updated: February 4, 2019

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.