Martha’s Vineyard Charter School enrollment is luck of the draw

The Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School. — File photo by Susan Safford

The Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School (MVPCS) in West Tisbury is allowed a maximum enrollment of 180 students, a number set by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The school is currently at full capacity.

Charter schools are funded by allocating a portion of education spending from related public school districts, based on how much money districts spent on each student. Although enrollment is ultimately determined by a random lottery, charter schools are open to all students.

Because Martha’s Vineyard schools are not regionalized as a whole, there are five different tuition rates for individual school districts – Tisbury, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, the Up-Island Regional School District, and the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School District. As a result, the number of students allowed to attend the charter school from each town differs, depending on the town’s educational cost per student.

In January, the school advertises the dates for visits one morning a week. Parents interested in sending children to the charter school may tour the school on those days to observe the school community in action and talk with director Bob Moore and assistant director Claudia Ewing.

The MVPCS enrollment process starts with an open house for grades K-12, usually in March. At that time, parents interested in enrolling their children may complete an application. Applications are usually due in mid-March.

Within five days after the open houses, the school holds a lottery to fill next year’s available openings. Usually there are more applications than openings, however. The names drawn in the lottery are slotted into openings available by age first and town of residence.

The rest of the names of students in kindergarten through grade twelve are put on a waiting list.

Kindergarten students also are picked through a lottery, with the rest placed on a waiting list in the order their names are drawn. Because of the school’s West Tisbury location, there often is a larger number of students applying from the up-Island towns. If several of their students’ names are picked early in the lottery, a town’s quota may fill up quickly, while slots remain open for students from down-Island towns.

Children who have siblings already attending the charter school go to the top of the waiting list, in accordance with state law.

For more information and to arrange for a school visit, call 508-693-9900.