Charter schools are required to report certain types of significant matters and new circumstances to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) in a timely fashion. Notification requires an individual authorized by the board, usually the school leader or a member of the school's administration, to notify the Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign informing the Department of the significant matter or new circumstance. Notification may be submitted via email to email@example.com , with the exception of updates that can occur through the Board Member Management System. Information regarding the board of trustees is updated within the Board Member Management System and also recorded in the school's annual report.
The Department requires notification of any significant matters related to an investigation, which include, but are not limited to, all communications made or received by or on behalf of the school with any government audit, investigative, or law enforcement agency. Pursuant to 603 CMR 1.08 (10), every charter school shall notify the Department in writing of all significant matters within two business days.
Pursuant to 603 CMR 1.08 (11), the Department requires notification when schools experience changes in:
*Note: If the delay of an amendment request includes a change to the roll out of a grade span change or maximum enrollment increase, the change will require approval of the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education and requires consultation with the Department.
In addition to notifying the Department of changes in leadership and contact information, charter schools must also update the Department's central Directory Administration system as needed. This is an online system used by all public schools and districts to identify key personnel and contact information. The Directory Administration database is used by many different offices in the Department to distribute important information, and some of the information is also made available to the public on the School Profiles page of the Department's website. Therefore, it is essential that this information be kept current. Charter schools can view, add, update, and delete their own information in the Directory Administration database through the Department's security portal. Schools should contact the Department's data collection unit at 781-338-DATA or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about this process.
All amendments to board approved policies that require alignment to published Department guidance require provisional approval by the Department prior to Commissioner approval. Provisional approval ensures that all changes align to current Department guidance and requirements. Please refer to the table below to determine the staff member who will review and provide provisional approval to the type of document the school seeks to amend. Prior to submission, any specific questions regarding Department guidance or the review process should be directed to the individual named below. Please submit the draft document directly to the individual via email.
Preliminary approval is required for changes to:
Accountability Plan Guidelines
Criteria for Bylaws Checklist
Charter School Technical Advisory 16-3: Enrollment Processes and FAQ's
Enrollment Policy and Practice Frequently Asked Questions
Criteria for Enrollment Policy and Application for Admission Checklist
Criteria for Expulsion Policy Checklist
Required and Recommended Elements of a Memorandum of Understanding
All other amendments to terms of the school's charter may be voted upon by the board and submitted directly to the Department via CharterSchoolAmendments@mass.gov for Commissioner approval without consultation with the Department.
Consultation with Department staff is not required prior to submission for changes to:
For information on how to complete an amendment request, please refer to the Amendment Guidelines below.
Guidelines for Charter Amendments Subject to Commissioner Approval
All amendment requests shall include a Charter Amendment Cover Sheet and a Charter Amendment Request Letter for Commissioner Approval. Charter Amendment Request Letters should briefly describe how the board came to decide to submit the charter amendment, why the amendment should be granted, and indicate specific concerns if the request is not granted, as applicable.
Templates for both documents can be found below.
Charter Amendment Cover Sheet
Template of Request Letter for Charter Amendment Subject to Commissioner Approval
If a school is proposing to permanently change its schedule, length of school year, school week, or school day), the school must also submit a completed School Schedule Template with the request.
School Schedule Template
When a school receives its original charter and any subsequent renewals of that charter from the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board), the state approves the charter school's broad academic and organizational plans for the next five years. Any substantive changes to those plans require the approval of the Board for an amendment to the school's charter before the changes are implemented. Charter amendments involving the districts specified in a school's charter, maximum enrollment, or grades served requires approval by the Board before implementation.
Schools are encouraged to consult with the Department prior to submission to ensure the request meets the standards for consideration by the commissioner and the Board.
The Amendment Guidelines were updated in May 2023 to include additional requirements related to the Charter School Program (CSP) grant. Additional criteria related to family and community engagement were added to the instructions for all types of requests. Schools are encouraged to consult with the Department to determine if their proposed expansion is eligible for the CSP grant.
For information on how to complete an amendment request or the proven provider request, please refer to the Amendment Guidelines below:
Guidelines for Charter Amendments to Districts Served, Grades Served, and Maximum Enrollment
All amendment requests shall include a Charter Amendment Cover Sheet and a Charter Amendment Request Letter.
Template of Request Letter for a Charter Amendment to the Districts specified in a School's Charter, Maximum Enrollment, or Grades Served
All schools who seek to amend their charter region, grades served, and/or maximum enrollment must submit a request by 12:00 noon on August 1, 2023 to CharterSchoolAmendments@mass.gov .
FY2024 Enrollment Projections by District for New Applications and Expansion AmendmentsThe 2023-2024 projections do not guarantee the number of seats available for award in any district in FY2024. The actual number of seats that may be available for award in any district in any particular year cannot be predicted with certainty and is dependent on several factors, including district enrollment, district spending levels, student enrollment for existing charter schools, and changes in the net school spending caps of individual districts.
Last Updated: May 23, 2023
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.