In regards to the charging of the bus, it is difficult to take issue with this as many districts either do not offer transportation or also charge. While looking into the situation we did come across an interesting tidbit of information that we thought we would share. Just to be clear, we have not had the opportunity to clarify or confirm this but are in the process of doing so. In the ongoing discussions regarding the new busing fee that MVRCS has implemented many parents have mentioned that we have been fortunate thus far as the school has not previously charged for busing. While reviewing the financial records for the 2008 school year (specifically the report titled Year Ended June 30, 2008), it appears that while the school incurred an expense of $405,000.00 for transportation (Schedule of Functional Expenses spreadsheet), they were reimbursed $504,033.00 in 'Regional Transportation Aid' (as stated in 'Statement of Revenues, Expenses, and Changes in Net Assetts (Income Statement)). That would mean that the school MADE $9,033.00 in transportation expenses. We are unsure as to how this can happen and if it should have happened but will be looking into it further, especially as they are now charging for transportation. It is interesting that within the 'Schedule of Functional Expenses, although there are columns designated for various reimbursements, none are listed even though the school did receive a reimbursement of $504,033.00.
If anyone has insight or accounting knowledge, we welcome your insight and comments. Thank you
Thank you to the DESE, and specifically Jay Sullivan, for clarifying this. Please contact Mr. Veilleux should you now qualify for transportation and be sure to pass on along the message.
from Sullivan, John J
to UnOfficial MVRCS
School Business Services
cc Charter Schools
date Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 11:13 AM
subject RE: Mystic Valley Regional Charter School
Just to be clear, I was told that Mystic Valley’s policy was that pupils would be eligible for transportation if they resided 1.75 linear miles from their school of attendance.
There are a number of different issues at play here. Regional Charters are eligible to receive reimbursements as you noted. Reimbursement is based upon the cost of transporting pupils who reside greater than 1.5 miles from their school of attendance. In addition, as stated in both M.G.L. Ch. 71 § 16C and M.G.L. Ch. 71 § 89 (ff), mileage is determined using the most commonly travelled route, not linear miles. The confusion surrounding the 2 mile distance and the reimbursement criteria I believe is from the difference in the state mandate articulated in M.G.L. Ch. 71 § 68, which states that a district is required to provide transportation to pupils who reside greater than 2 miles from their school of attendance.
I hope this clears up any confusion.
Administrator, School Business Services
Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
75 Pleasant St.
Malden, MA 02148-4906
This was in response to the following email:
We are seeking to clarify the transportation policy that governs MVRCS. The school has been informing parents that the student must live 2.00 linear miles from the school yet according to another parent who spoke to you the other day, the distance is 2.00 by the most common route and since people and cars do not fly, they are not permitted to determine eligibility on the linear mileage but rather on the actual driven mileage. It was our understanding that you recommended parents check the mileage under Mapquest.com. It was also the understanding of this parent that according to the DESE, MVRCS is NOT required to make an announcement or posting regarding the mistaken information they had previously provided to parents. Could you please verify this.
While looking into this matter, we came across a 'Technical Advisory' from July 2007 that reads as follows:
• Regional Transportation Reimbursement
In order to be eligible for reimbursement through the state regional transportation reimbursement program, a charter school must:
1. Be designated a regional charter school by the Board of Education; and
2. Have a charter that provides for the transportation of all students who reside in the charter school's designated region but outside the district in which the charter school is located.
If the charter school meets both of these conditions, the charter school is entitled to claim reimbursement for those students who reside outside the municipality in which the charter is located and reside 1½ miles or more from the charter school (see M.G.L. Ch. 71 § 89(ff) and M.G.L. Ch. 71 § 16C). This program is funded by the state as a specific line item in the state budget and as such, is subject to appropriation. It has been funded at varying levels, from 47% to 100% of the costs eligible for reimbursement, from FY96 through FY07.
According to this, the mileage would be 1.5 miles for Regional Charter Schools, which based on our understanding Mystic Valley is classified as such. We are asking that you provide further clarification as to whether the mileage is actually 1.5 or 2.0 as we understand things may have changed since 2007.
We thank you for your speedy response to this request for information. Thank you, The Parents of the UnOfficialMVRCS Blog