Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Yes, if you decide to homeschool, it will hit your district's budget (but next year, and maybe?)

I've gotten this question often enough where I thought I should put it somewhere:

A family deciding to withdraw their family from the district and homeschool their children will impact that district's budget, but for the following year. 
Each October, districts submit their enrollment to the state. It is those enrollments (by grade, but also by everything else: English learning, poverty, program) that determine the next year's foundation budget, which in turn is what is used to calculate state aid.
Thus a family withdrawing a child this August (2020) won't be counted this October (2020) which hits the FY22 budget, calculated in January 2021 (remember, we're in FY21 now!).

HOWEVER: the state has a "hold harmless" provision in Chapter 70 aid, now written into the Student Opportunity Act, which prevents a district from losing state aid due to loss of enrollment.
Would the state still do that if there were a massive exit from districts? I don't know.

Further HOWEVER, a family deciding to participate in a district's remote learning option does not have this impact. You can choose to keep your child home, have them do the district's remote learning, and you'll still count as enrolled and won't hit the budget. It is only if you are fully homeschooling your child--determining curriculum, grading, and the like--that causes a child not to count in the district enrollment.

Every district in Massachusetts is required to have a remote learning program this year.

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