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Education Laws and Regulations

603 CMR 1.00

Charter Schools


  • 1.01: Purpose
  • 1.02: Definitions
  • 1.03: General Provisions
  • 1.04: Applications for and Granting of Charters
  • 1.05: Student Recruitment, Enrollment, and Retention
  • 1.06: Boards of Trustees and Staff
  • 1.07: Funding
  • 1.08: Reporting Requirements and Ongoing Review
  • 1.09: Complaint Procedures
  • 1.10: Amendments of Charters
  • 1.11: Renewal of Charters
  • 1.12: Conditions, Probation, Suspension, Revocation and Non-Renewal
  • 1.13: Severability Clause
  • View All Sections

Most Recently Amended by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education: June 22, 2021

1.07: Funding

(1) Horace Mann Charter Schools: Horace Mann charter schools shall be funded through the local school district under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding. A Horace Mann charter school shall submit a budget request to the local school district annually, in accordance with the budget schedule of the local school district and no later than April 1st. Such budget request shall be submitted to the superintendent and school committee of the district in which the charter school is located. The school committee shall act on the charter school budget request in conjunction with its approval of the district's overall budget. The board of trustees of the Horace Mann charter school may expend such allocation as it sees fit without any further approval by the superintendent or school committee. A Horace Mann charter school's budget allocation shall be consistent with the allocation of other public schools in the district. In the case of budget reductions in the school district, a Horace Mann charter school's budget may not be reduced disproportionately to other schools in the district. The Horace Mann charter school board of trustees shall follow the dispute resolution procedures outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding. The board of trustees may appeal a disproportionate budget allocation to the Commissioner. The Commissioner then shall determine an equitable funding level for the charter school and, if appropriate, shall require the school committee to provide such funding.

  • (2) Commonwealth Charter Schools: Every operating Commonwealth charter school shall receive tuition payments from each school district whose students attend the charter school. Such tuition payments shall be equal to the appropriate charter school tuition rate, as determined in accordance with 603 CMR 1.07(2)(a), multiplied by the number of students attending the charter school from the sending district in the current year. If any students attend the charter school for less than the full school year, the tuition payment shall be reduced based on the number of days of enrollment. Such tuition payments shall be paid in accordance with 603 CMR 1.07(2)(d).

    1. (a) Foundation Budget and Commonwealth Charter Schools: For each sending district, a separate foundation budget dollar amount and charter school tuition rate shall be calculated as follows for each charter school to which the district sends students.
      1. The foundation budget dollar amount shall be calculated, based on the foundation budget factors used for the distribution of Chapter 70 aid in the current year, provided that the out-of-district special education tuition component of the foundation budget shall be excluded from the calculation. The student data for this calculation shall be the foundation enrollment information reported by the charter school as of October 1st of the prior school year. The tuition rate shall equal the foundation budget dollar amount divided by the number of students. If no students attended a particular charter school from a particular sending district in the prior year, then the sending district's average foundation budget per pupil will be used as the tuition rate.
      2. Each tuition rate shall be increased by the ratio of the sending district's current year budgeted net school spending, as reported on schedule 19 of the Department's end of year pupil and financial returns, to the sending district's total current year foundation budget. Amounts reported on schedule 19 for out-of-district special education tuition and retired teachers' health insurance shall be excluded from this calculation.
      3. Each tuition rate shall be increased by a per pupil capital needs component calculated in accordance with M.G.L. c. 71, § 89(ff), and each year's general appropriations act.
    2. (b) Facilities: Any amounts appropriated under line item 7010-0030 for the purpose of per pupil facilities aid for Commonwealth charter schools shall be used to reimburse sending districts for the capital component of the tuition payments, as calculated in 603 CMR 1.07(2)(a)3., but shall not affect the payments due to Commonwealth charter schools.
    3. (c) Tuition Rate: For each sending district, the sum of its tuition payment to each Commonwealth charter school, less any charter school capital facility reimbursement received pursuant to 603 CMR 1.07(2)(b), shall be used as the district's "total charter school tuition payment" for the purposes of M.G.L. c. 71, § 89(i), and shall be used as the district's "total charter school tuition amount" for the purposes of M.G.L. c. 71, § 89(gg).
    4. (d) Tuition Payment: The State Treasurer shall make monthly payments to Commonwealth charter schools. In making such payments, the Commonwealth shall reduce each sending district's M.G.L. c. 70 allocation by an amount sufficient to meet its charter school obligations for the month. If there are insufficient M.G.L. c. 70 funds to meet a district's obligation, the Commonwealth shall reduce other state aid allocated to the applicable cities and towns. If there are insufficient state aid funds of any kind to meet a district's obligation, the Board shall recommend to the Governor and legislature that a supplemental appropriation be made to pay any remaining obligation to the charter school(s).The Department shall notify both the Commonwealth charter school and the sending district(s) of the amount of these tuition payments.
    5. (e) Monthly Payments: The first five monthly payments to Commonwealth charter schools shall be based on each charter school's pre-enrollment report, filed with the Department pursuant to 603 CMR 1.08(5). The remaining monthly payments of each fiscal year shall be based on updated enrollment reports, submitted to the Department by each charter school. Failure to submit a required enrollment report or charter school claim form may result in the withholding of some or all of a charter school's monthly payment. Although each monthly payment is intended to equal approximately one twelfth of the projected annual amount, payments from December through June shall include adjustments to correct any over- or under-payments in earlier months of the fiscal year.

    (3) Transportation:

    1. (a) All students who reside in the school district in which a charter school is located shall be provided transportation by the district, provided that either : 1. transportation is provided to district students in the same grade; or 2. transportation is required by the student's individualized education program. If a district provides an alternative means of transportation for its students in a particular grade, such as public transportation passes, it may do so for charter school students in that grade. A district may not limit transportation to charter school students based upon attendance zones or other geographic subdivisions of the district. The district shall accommodate the school day and school year specified in the school's charter, provided that the charter school shall make reasonable accommodations in setting its daily starting and ending times to foster cost-efficient transportation arrangements.
    2. (b) A charter school shall annually notify the district in which it is located of its projected transportation needs no later than February 1st prior to the start of the school year, provided that newly chartered schools shall provide such notification as soon as practicable following receipt of its charter. Charter schools shall update their projected transportation needs by April 1st based on pre-enrollment data.
    3. (c) If a district and a charter school are unable to reach agreement on the district's provision of transportation for all or some of the students attending said school, the charter school may provide its own transportation. The school shall make every reasonable effort to provide such transportation in the most cost effective manner possible, including but not limited to collaboration with the district. The school shall be reimbursed by the district for the actual costs incurred by the school or for the district's average per pupil cost for all in-district student transportation, whichever is less. Said reimbursements shall be subject to the Commissioner's approval and shall be paid through the Department's charter tuition payment process.

    (4) Surplus Determination: Every Commonwealth charter school shall maintain a separate fund on its books of account for tuition revenue. The Commissioner, in consultation with the State Auditor, shall prescribe supplemental reports for the purpose of calculating the school's cumulative unspent tuition revenue, and such reports shall be submitted as part of the school's audited financial statements. Commonwealth charter schools are permitted to retain a reasonable surplus as working capital for the upcoming fiscal year equal to no more than 25% of the prior year's tuition payments plus 20% of the budgeted operating and capital expenses for the upcoming year. Payments of excess cumulative tuition revenue due to sending districts and the Commonwealth shall be made by the Commissioner through adjustments to monthly tuition payments and monthly distribution of charter 70 aid.

    (5) Capital Plan and Reserves: A charter school may establish and periodically update a capital plan identifying current and future capital projects. The Commissioner shall prescribe the information to be reported for each such project as part of the school's annual report. A charter school may establish a separate capital reserve account for each project identified in its capital plan, and may make payments into said accounts. Funds in a capital reserve account may only be used for the project or purpose for which the account was established, provided, that such funds may be transferred to another capital reserve account or to the school's operating fund with the prior approval of the Commissioner.

    Regulatory Authority:
    M.G.L. c. 69, § 1B; c. 71, § 89

    For an official copy of these regulations, please contact the State House Bookstore, at 617-727-2834 or visit Massachusetts State Bookstore.

    Last Updated: April 26, 2022

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