The purpose of these guidelines is to define new and significant expansion of enrollment for charter schools to determine the eligibility and potential allocation of federal funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
The following information outlines the definition of and the process used by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to implement federal regulations under 34 CFR Part 76 as they relate to formula programs under ESEA for new and significant expansion of enrollment for charter schools. The purpose of this regulation is to ensure that charter schools receive the federal education funds to which they are entitled. The process for implementing the requirements under 34 CFR Part 76 is outlined below. We encourage charter school administrators to carefully read this information since it could have implications for the charter school’s ability to receive funds from Title I Part A, Title II Part A and Title III as well as implications for the amount of funds received.
Eligibility and preliminary allocations for charter schools opening for the first time are based on projected enrollment data that are submitted in June, before the school opens, to the Division of School Finance. The projected total enrollment, free and reduced priced lunch and English Learner (EL) student data are then used to determine preliminary eligibility and to calculate preliminary allocations for Titles I Part A, Title II Part A, and Title III. In October, Child Count information submitted through the October 1 Minnesota Automated Reporting Student System (MARSS) data submission are used to determine the actual eligibility status and allocations for Titles I Part A, Title II Part A and Title III for charter schools that open for the first time. Notification of the charter school’s eligibility and allocations based on the submitted data is emailed to each charter school that opened for the first time. In November, the charter schools that opened for the first time are required to attend a training session that walks them through the ESEA application process. Applications for ESEA federal funds for charter schools opening for the first time are due in December.
The regulations define significant expansion of enrollment to mean the charter has a substantial increase in the number of students attending a charter school due to a significant event that is unlikely to occur on a regular basis, such as the addition of one or more grades or educational programs in major curriculum areas. The term also includes any other expansion of enrollment that the State Education Agency (SEA) determines to be significant.
In the spring, student MARSS data from the previous year is used to determine the eligibility and the preliminary allocations of existing charter schools. If the addition of a new grade or the addition of a new curriculum area has significantly affected the enrollment of the charter school, the charter school has the opportunity to request that MDE use current data submitted through the October 1 MARSS student data submission process. MDE will only accept current enrollment data from schools that have either added a new grade level, have added a new curriculum area or have experienced a 25 percent net growth in total student enrollment from the prior year. Note that the use of current data may or may not affect the school’s final eligibility status or allocations. Notice of the changes in enrollment due to any of the above situations must be in writing.
Charter schools that have experienced an expansion of enrollment due to any of the factors mentioned above are responsible for notifying their Area Director of these changes. A written notice which includes the reason the enrollment has significantly increased and the data submitted through October 1 MARSS data submission process must be sent to the Director, Division of Student Support by October 15 of the current school year. For further information, please contact the Area Director assigned to work with the charter school.