Room Under Current Caps on Public Charter Schools

Date Published: 
May 20, 2016
Author: 
MCPSA

The Department of Elementary & Secondary Education posted the latest list of where communities stand against one of the current enrollment caps on public charter schools. The cap limits the amount of money public charters can receive from districts at either 9% or 18% of “net school spending” depending on whether the district falls in the bottom 10% based on academic performance. (“Net school spending” represents about 80% of a school district’s actual spending.)

The following districts are currently at the cap and are frozen to new public charters:

Lawrence
Lowell
Fall River
Everett
Franklin
Malden

The following large, urban districts are too close to the cap to allow for a new public charter school:

Boston
Holyoke
Chelsea
Cambridge
Greenfield
North Adams
Somerville

Other notable information:

The Department opened 225 new seats in Boston, because of increased spending by the district. However, that is not enough to open a new public charter school. There are more than 12,000 children on Boston public charter school waiting lists. Last year, current public charter schools applied for more than 3,000 new seats, but only 1,000 were awarded because of the cap, leaving 2,000 on the cutting room floor.
Technically, there are 150 seats left in Holyoke, but that is not nearly enough to allow the Holyoke Community Charter School, which currently serves children in Grades K-8, to add a desperately needed high school. There are currently 359 children on waiting lists in Holyoke.
Springfield has room for only one more public charter school: 543 seats available, while 3,701 children are stranded on waiting lists.
Worcester has room for only one more public charter school: 420 seats available, while 722 children are stranded on waiting lists.
Brockton has room for only one more public charter school: 401 seats available, while 727 children are stranded on waiting lists.