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Massachusetts Charter Schools

2016-2017 Pre-Enrollment, NSS "Near Cap", Waitlist Data Information

To:Charter School Leaders and Business Managers
From:Cliff Chuang, Associate Commissioner
Date:February 16, 2016

The deadline for submitting the Charter School Pre-Enrollment Report for the 2016-2017 school year is 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15, 2016. 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 2017 (FY17). This report represents the maximum number of students on which each Commonwealth 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 Tuesday, March 15, 2016 by 5:00 p.m.

Information included in this memorandum includes:

  1. Instructions for 2016-2017 Charter School Pre-Enrollment data submission:

    The web user interface for the Charter School Pre-Enrollment web application remains the same as last year. 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 it. 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 26, 2016. All charter schools are required to submit pre-enrollment data for the 2016-2017 school year by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15, 2016.

  2. Regulatory Notification of 2016-2017 "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" (603 CMR 1.06(4)(c)).

    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). Under new legislation, the charter school tuition may exceed 9 percent (up to 18% in FY17) if the school is located in a district that is in the lowest 10 percent of all statewide student performance scores. Using projected FY17 enrollment numbers for charter schools, projected FY17 tuition rates, and required FY17 NSS figures, the School Finance Unit has calculated preliminary projections of each sending district's FY17 enrollment against the 9 percent NSS cap or the 18 percent NSS cap if applicable, which is contained in the attached spreadsheet.

    Download Excel Document
    FY17 Projected NSS NearCap

    Based on the Department's understanding of charter school growth plans for FY17, the attached analysis projects the number of "seats" that will remain for charter school enrollment in each sending district, after the FY17 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 8.50 percent of NSS or 17.5 percent of NSS (if applicable):

    406Northampton Smith

    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 FY17 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 Tuesday, March 15, 2016. This list will contain your school's FY17 waitlist established after your most recent lottery and should reflect an accurate student waitlist as of March 15, 2016 for the upcoming school year. This FY17 Updated Charter School Student-Level Waitlist Report should be completed using the Excel template named FY17 Updated Charter School Waitlist that will be uploaded to the school's Charter School File Exchange dropbox within the DESE Security Portal.

    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

    In addition, please note that in this year's data collection, there may additional instructions for schools that have chosen to roll-over waitlists established prior to March 31, 2014. Please follow the detailed instructions that will be listed in the Instructions tab in the workbook.

    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 29, 2016.

  5. Instructions and Guidance

    Similar to the instructional presentation that was posted for the October Waitlist, we will post instructions for both the pre-enrollment report and the waitlist report. We will also be available by phone for any questions and guidance needed.


Questions Regarding the Pre-enrollment submission:

Please feel free to contact Joanna Laghetto at 781-338-3221 or or James DiMaio at 781-338-3228 or

Questions Regarding the Waitlist submission:

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

Last Updated: February 6, 2019

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