Charter School Choice
Does the state have charter schools?
Section 89: Commonwealth charter schools; Horace Mann charter schools; applications; enrollment; employees; funding
Are for-profit charter schools or management companies allowed?
Charters in Massachusetts are granted only to the charter school's proposed board of trustees, an independent state public body.
We did not find mention of whether charters are allowed to contract with for-profit education service providers:
"[I]f the charter school intends to procure substantially all educational services under contract with another person, the terms of such a contract must be approved by the board either as part of the original charter or by way of an amendment thereto; provided, further that the board shall not approve any such contract terms, the purpose or effect of which is to avoid the prohibition of this section against charter school status for private and parochial schools"
A Massachusetts policy expert stated that while charters must be non-profit, charter boards can contract with for-profit management partners.
Questions and Answers about Charter Schools in Massachusetts
Is there a cap on the number of charter schools?
"Not more than 120 charter schools shall be allowed to operate in the commonwealth at any time, excluding those approved pursuant to paragraph (3); provided, however, that of the 120 charter schools, not more than 48 shall be Horace Mann charter schools and not more than 72 shall be commonwealth charter schools. The state board may not approve a new commonwealth charter school in any community with a population of less than 30,000 unless it is a regional charter school. In any year, the state board of education may approve only 1 regional charter school located in a school district where overall student performance on the statewide assessment system is in the top 10% in the year preceding charter application."
Are charters required to provide transportation for any students?
"The students who reside in the school district in which the charter school is located shall be provided transportation to the charter school by the resident district's school committee on similar terms and conditions as transportation is provided to students attending local district schools if the transportation is requested by the charter school. However, that in the event that a school committee limits transportation for district school students, the school district shall not be required to provide transportation to any commonwealth charter school beyond the limitations."
Can charter schools employ uncertified teachers?
"No teacher shall be hired by a commonwealth charter school who is not certified pursuant to section 38G unless the teacher has successfully passed the state teacher test as required in said section 38G."
Virtual School Choice
Do state statutes allow for full-time virtual schools?
Commonwealth virtual schools are public schools operated by a board of trustees whose teachers primarily teach from a remote location using the internet or other computer-based methods and whose students are not required to be located at the physical premises of the school.
Are virtual schools required to track attendance?
The annual report of the commonwealth virtual school should include "information regarding and a discussion of student attendance and participation." Also, the commissioner should provide a report on impact of the virtual school, and the report should include "information on course completion and student attendance and participation rates."
Do virtual schools have to comply with state teacher certification requirements?
No teacher shall be hired by a commonwealth virtual school who is not certified pursuant to section 38G.
Private School Choice
Does the state have voucher programs?
No voucher programs found.
Does the state have educational expense tuition tax credits or deductions?
No educational expense tax credits or deductions found.
Can students use vouchers to attend religious schools?
Is there a cap on the number of students or private schools participating in voucher programs?
Are voucher students in private schools required to take any standardized tests?
Can private schools be removed from voucher programs based on performance?
Are private schools in voucher programs required to provide transportation?
Interdistrict School Choice
Does the state have interdistrict choice programs?
"Any child, with the consent of the school committee of the town where he resides, may attend, at the expense of said town, the public schools of another town, upon such terms as may be fixed by the two committees."
Are receiving schools or districts required to provide transportation to any students?
There is a school choice transportation reimbursement program for pupils eligible for free or reduced price lunches. "The types of transportation to be reimbursed pursuant to said program shall include, but need not be limited to, the following: (1) transportation by school buses provided by the sending or receiving district; (2) transportation provided by the parent or guardian of the child; (3) transportation provided by public transportation."