As of October 1, 2019 (Posted February 2020)
Each spring, charter schools send 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 who were placed on the schools' waitlists through each school's initial lottery, which is typically held in February or March. The Department's March 2019 waitlist collection included students who applied for admission for the 2019-2020 school year (the initial waitlist).
The information provided below is an update to the initial (March 2019) waitlist data as of October 1, 2019. The information reflects late offers of admissions, which may result in acceptances or declines, as well as any new lotteries for seats that may have opened up over the summer and into the school year.
For the March 2018 initial waitlist, 73 1 out of 81 charter schools had waitlists for which they reported 53,668 entries, with 27,743 unique students identified. Of that student headcount, 26,025 unique students newly applied for admittance to at least one charter school for the 2019-2020 school year; the remaining 1,718 unique students applied for admittance prior to March 2014.
The information provided below reflects the number of students who applied to charter schools for the 2019-2020 school year (FY20), but did not gain admittance and were reported on a charter school waitlist as of October 1, 2019. This updated 2019-2020 waitlist report finds the following:
In 2014, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted regulations requiring charter schools to refresh their waitlists every year, based on the most recent application cycle. These regulations, however, allowed schools to keep students on their waitlists who submitted applications before March 31, 2014. As shown in Figure 2, 3 schools continue to include such students from prior years on their active waitlists. This charter school waitlist report update found that 12,868 student records were removed from the total March 2019 initial waitlist report. Charter schools reported that 40,800 student records remained on their waitlists as October 1, 2019, while an additional 1,316 student records were added to their waitlists after March 15, 2019. The table below (Figure 2) also identifies charter schools that have held subsequent lotteries and the number of students who were added to these school waitlists.
Please note that the total number represents every student record found on each charter school's submitted updated waitlist.
† These 3 schools have indicated to the Department that they included waitlist information established prior to March 31, 2014 in accordance to 603 CMR 1.05(10)(a).
*Of the 16 schools that utilized the Boston Charter School Application online application system, 14 schools still maintained a waitlist as of October 1, 2019.
The year's reports, for both the initial and update, continue to build on the additional support and technical assistance provided by the Department to the field over the past few years. The Department continues its efforts to increase the timeliness and accuracy of school waitlist reports. Each charter school is responsible for maintaining its own individual waitlist. To ensure uniformity, the Department created a waitlist collection template and required charter schools to use it to update waitlist data that was originally submitted by March 15, 2019, as well as input any new waitlist data. This template embedded tools that automatically flagged duplicate records, which each school could then remove before submitting its waitlist. The template also embedded tools that flagged the waitlist for other inconsistencies, such as unrealistic dates of birth (e.g., 2/28/2019), student age, and residing outside of the Commonwealth. In order to verify student information and address overall waitlist accuracy, the Department corrected any transcription errors or inconsistencies in submitted charter school waitlists. Additionally, charter schools that self-identified as using waitlists established prior to March 31, 2014, as permitted by 603 CMR 1.05(10)(a), were required to identify each individual student who was included in those waitlists (and continued to remain on their waitlist) and each student who was removed from those waitlists. Finally, the Department continues to implement its matching process, which gets fine-tuned and updated to increase accuracy in identifying students who applied for admission and were waitlisted at more than one charter school.
The Department has made significant improvements over the years in quantifying the exact number of students who may be actively waiting for admission to a charter school. The unique waitlist counts provided in this current report should be taken as the Department's best understanding and representation of the updated demand for the current 2019-2020 school year rather than exact numbers of students willing to accept offers at each school.
The Department thanks all of the charter school administrators and staff who worked diligently to report their waitlists as accurately and as promptly as possible.
The appendix to this report can be found in the attached Excel file, which contains updated numbers based on an October 1, 2019 data collection:
For more information on waitlist policy and procedures and the number of students found on previous cycles of charter school waitlists, see Charter School Technical Advisory 16-3: Enrollment Processes and FAQ's and Pre-Enrollment and Waitlist Data webpage, respectively. For further information regarding this report, please contact Brenton Stewart or the Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign.
Updated Report of Charter School Waitlist as of October 1, 2019
FY20 Updated Waitlist Appendix
1 The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted changes to the charter school regulations in March 2014 (see 603 CMR 1.05(10)(a)), which has affected how charter schools collect waitlist data. Under the amended regulations, charter schools maintain waitlists only for the school year for which students applied (i.e., carrying over student names from enrollment lotteries from one year to another is no longer permitted). However, charter schools were allowed 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.
2 The Department has worked with schools to identify the students who were placed on waitlists prior to March 31, 2014. This additional information allows the Department to identify students who submitted applications for admittance in the current year.
3 Please note: out of 21,743 new applying students in 2019-2020, waitlist updates indicate 65 were added to new waitlists while still remaining on other school waitlists based on applications submitted prior to March 31, 2014.
Last Updated: February 10, 2020
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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