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Massachusetts Charter Schools

2017-2018 Pre-Enrollment, NSS "Near-Cap", Waitlist Data Information

To:Charter School Leaders and Business Managers
From:Alison Bagg, Director
Date:February 16, 2017

The deadline for submitting the Charter School Pre-Enrollment Report for the 2017-2018 school year is 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15, 2017. 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 2018 (FY18). 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 at the same time as the Pre-Enrollment report: 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

Information included in this memorandum includes:

  1. Instructions for 2017-2018 Charter School Pre-Enrollment data submission:1

    Please note: The enrollment numbers submitted will be based on actual data including, but not limited to, applications for admission, the lottery, students expected to return in FY18, and waitlists. It is understood that some specifics will change due to student mobility, normal attrition, and backfilling but the total number of pre-enrolled students in the March submission and the actual enrollment reported on the October 1 SIMS should be very similar.

    The web user interface for the Charter School Pre-Enrollment web application is the same as last year. 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 16, 2017. All charter schools are required to submit pre-enrollment data for the 2017-2018 school year by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

  2. Regulatory Notification of 2017-2018 "Near-Cap" and "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 1.05(6)(d)).

    Net School Spending Caps

    Limitations on the number of students from a district are a result of the net school spending (NSS) caps in the charter school statute (M.G.L. Chapter 71, Section 89(i)(2)). The charter school statute sets a cap on the amount of NSS that can be transferred from any single school district for payment of tuition to all Commonwealth charter schools. These are commonly referred to as "NSS caps." The charter school statute permits the amount of NSS transferred from any single school district for payment of tuition to all Commonwealth charter schools to exceed 9 percent (up to 18 percent in FY172) in those school districts that perform in the lowest 10 percent of school districts on statewide student assessments. We embedded the Projected FY18 FTE Remaining under the Net School Spending (NSS) Caps for your information:

    Download Excel Document
    FY18 Projected NSS "Near-Cap"

    Using projected FY18 enrollment numbers for charter schools, projected FY18 tuition rates, and required FY18 NSS figures, the School Finance Unit has calculated preliminary projections of each sending district's FY18 enrollment against the 9 percent NSS cap or the 18 percent NSS cap, if applicable, which is contained in the attached spreadsheet.

    Based on the Department's understanding of charter school growth plans for FY18, the attached analysis projects the number of "seats" that will remain for charter school enrollment in each sending district, after the FY18 enrollment process has been completed. Based on this analysis, the Department has determined that the following school districts are "near-cap" districts in Figure 1 (if the district is projected to have either less than 10 FTE seats remaining or to have charter tuition assessments above 8.50 percent of NSS,17.5 percent of NSS, or are within 0.5 percent of the relevant NSS cap).

    Figure 1
    632Chesterfield Goshen

    In only these districts, in Figure 1, charter schools may exercise the option to skip over students who reside in these districts and who apply for enrollment in accordance with (603 CMR 1.05(10)(b)). The Department will provide further guidance to charter schools that may be newly impacted by near-cap district designations for FY18.

    After charter schools have submitted their pre-enrollment data, the Department will release FY18 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 may enroll students from the waitlist—some of whom might have been previously skipped—if a particular sending district is no longer on the "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 Wednesday, March 15, 2017. This list will contain your school's FY18 waitlist established after your most recent lottery and should reflect an accurate student waitlist as of March 15, 2017 for the upcoming school year. This FY18 Updated Charter School Student-Level Waitlist Report should be completed using the Excel template named FY18 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 CodeGrade

    In addition, please note that 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.

  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 June 15, 2017.

  5. Instructions and Guidance

    Instructions for submitting the pre-enrollment report can be found in the application on the Security Portal. Instructions for submitting the waitlist report can be found on the first tab of each school's waitlist template. We will also be available by phone to offer any help or guidance.

    As with all data collections, the Department may review a sample of the pre-enrollment and 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.


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

1 MGL Chapter 71 §89(o): Each charter school shall annually, not later than April 1, notify each public school district in writing of the number and grade levels of students who will be attending the charter school from that district the following September as well as the number of new students who will be transferring from that district to the charter school in the following September. Tuition for charter school students shall only be paid for the number of students for whom notification has been reported by April 1. Tuition for charter school students shall be paid only for students actually enrolled in the school.

603 CMR 1.08(5): Enrollment Reports: Every charter school shall file a pre-enrollment report annually in accordance with deadlines established by the Department. Every charter school must keep accurate records related to enrollment including, but not limited to, applications for admission, the lottery process, and wait lists. The Department will report to districts the aggregate number of students who are selected for admission for the upcoming school year from their districts and the total enrollment for each charter school. No charter school shall receive tuition payments that exceed the total enrollment for that charter school as it was reported to the Department in the school's pre-enrollment report. In their pre-enrollment reports, charter schools must notify the Department of:

  1. the school's total enrollment for the subsequent academic year; and
  2. the projected number of students selected for admission, by grade and district of residence, for the subsequent academic year.

2 Please note: If a district exited a lowest 10% designation, the district's NSS cap is based on the year they exited the lowest 10%.

NSS Cap for Districts Performing in the Lowest 10 Percent
Fiscal YearNSS cap

Last Updated: February 13, 2019

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