As of October 1, 2015
(Posted February 2016)
Each spring, charter schools submit to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) the number of students enrolled for the upcoming school year as well as the number of students that were placed on their waitlist through the school's principal lottery. The March 2015 collection reported on the FY16 waitlist of students who applied for admission for the 2015-2016 school year (the initial waitlist). The information provided below is an update to the initial waitlist data as of October 1, 2015, and reflects late offers of admission and/or new lotteries for seats that opened up over the summer and into the school year.
The Department collected the initial March 2015 waitlist data through each charter school's security portal. The Department conducted a review of data to identify errors, such as duplicate records, transposition of digits in dates of birth, and other obvious data entry errors. Charters schools were asked to address the identified data concerns and resubmit their report. The Department's Education Data Services Office then conducted a deliberate matching process, using students' names (first, middle, last), dates of birth, and towns in order to achieve a reasonably complete list of matches. After the matching process was conducted for the March 2015 reporting, the Department then placed each charter school's clean, corrected, and matched waitlist report into their respective security portals. In November 2015, the schools were asked to identify any students who were no longer on their initial waitlists as of October 1, 2015, and, any students who were added to their waitlists in subsequent lotteries. The Department then conducted a final review and matching process to insure that all reasonable and appropriate efforts had been made to eliminate duplications from the final list. While some small number of unidentified matches likely remains, the Department is confident that the data presented here accurately captures the existing statewide volume of students on individual waitlists. The resulting list provided below, therefore, represents the most accurate information available from the Department for the time periods covered.
For the March 2015 initial FY16 waitlist, 75 out of 82 charter schools had waitlists on which they reported 49,444 entries, with 37,470 unique students identified. Of the 75 charter schools who submitted initial waitlist data in March 2015, 74 schools continued to have a waitlist as of October 1, 2015. As shown in the table below, the 74 updated charter school waitlists contained 43,294 entries, with 33,903 unique students identified.
There are 43,294 names on the wait list, which reflect 33,903 unique individuals. Of those 33,903 students, 4,833 students (14.3%) are on an average of about 3 different wait lists, but they are only counted once.
It is important to note that not every student on a charter school waitlist would necessarily accept an offer of admission if, and when, it might be proffered. Therefore, the number of students found on each charter school's waitlist should not be understood as the number of students actively willing to accept an admission offer at any moment in time. This is particularly true for schools that have chosen to rollover their waitlists from one year to the next for waitlists established prior to March 31, 2014, as permitted by 603 CMR 1.05(10)(a), allowing students to remain on the waitlist for several years.1 A recent Department survey found that approximately 75% of charter schools indicated that they chose to not rollover their prior year waitlists for the 2015-2016 school year. The Department is exploring ways to identify how many students continue to be rolled over in future waitlist submission cycles.
Despite the significant and continuing improvement efforts the Department has made in recent years, it remains impossible to quantify the exact number of students that may be actively waiting for admission to a charter school unless the Department makes speculative assumptions and the Department has avoided doing so in compiling the numbers presented in this report. The unique waitlist counts provided in this report should be taken as the Department's best understanding and representation of existing demand for the time period covered in the collection rather than exact numbers of students willing to accept offers at each school.
The Department has implemented a few changes to the most recent collection process to achieve as accurate a matching process as possible. Because the current collection process requires significant resources from both the charter schools and the Department, the Department will continue to explore other efficient and accurate methods for collecting future waitlist information.
The appendix to this report can be found in the attached Excel file, which contains:
For more information on waitlist policy and procedures and the number of students found on previous cycles of charter school waitlists, see the Charter Schools Enrollemnt website. For further information regarding this report, please contact Brenton Stewart or the Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign .
FY16 Updated Waitlist Appendix
1 Changes to the charter school regulations were adopted in March 2014 by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (see 603 CMR 1.05(10)(a)), which has affected how charter schools collect waitlist data. Under the amended regulations, new additions to charter school waitlists will only be maintained for the school year for which the students applied (i.e., carrying over student names from new enrollment lotteries from one year to another is no longer permitted). The amended regulations do allow a charter school to choose to maintain any waitlists that were established prior to March 31, 2014 until such waitlists are exhausted, provided that such maintenance is clearly articulated in the school's enrollment policy approved by the Department.
Last Updated: February 5, 2019
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