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Helpful MARSS News and Updates

16 January 2017

MARSS Notes

The November MARSS Memo – Issue 16.09 has been posted.  This memo includes the following articles:  MARSS Reporting Timelines, FY 2016 End-of-Year MARSS WES Manual Appeal Files, Notices of Residents Enrolled Elsewhere, October 1 Assignment for Compensatory Revenue, Verifying Compensatory Revenue, Student Data, Child Count Report, MARSS Reporting of Students Experiencing Homelessness and Economic Indicator, Impact to Transportation Funding for Children Awaiting Foster Care Based on Changes in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Warning Message #364 Direct Certification (DC), Notification of Change in Student Enrollment, Superintendent Authorization for MARSS Web Edit System (WES), MARSS Coordinator Contact List

 

**Below are points of special note (each of these excerpts are from MARSS Memo 16.09, please see the memo for the full article)

 

Notices of Residents Enrolled Elsewhere

Note: Beginning in FY 2017, if a resident district notifies us after August 1 with documentation that they have contacted the serving district and have been unable to get a Special Education Student Acknowledgement, we will permanently block the student from tuition billing. (Blocking the student will result in the unreimbursed cost of providing special education services to not be billed to the resident district through Special Education Tuition Billing.)

 

Verifying Compensatory Revenue Student Data

Compensatory revenue is based on the prior year’s October 1 enrollments and counts of students eligible for the free or reduced-price meal program. From the final Fall FY 2017 MARSS data, MDE will generate the October 1, 2016, counts that will be used to calculate FY 2018 compensatory revenue. For first year charter schools, these counts will be used for both FY 2017 and FY 2018 compensatory revenue. Therefore, it is critical that schools edit these data thoroughly during the fall MARSS reporting cycle and make any necessary corrections before the reporting timelines have expired.

 

Several reports have been designed and made available to schools to assist them in editing and verifying data both locally via MARSS WES and posted to the MDE public website. MARSS coordinators should share these reports with others in the district or charter school who can assist in editing the counts.

 

Child Count Report

Districts and charter schools that submitted MARSS Fall FY 2017 files by November 9, 2016, and/or on whose behalf another district reported eligible students, will find MARSS 33 Child Count report posted to their MARSS WES statewide reports web page. This report is a list of eligible students sorted by district of residence and student name. Please share this report with your special education director. Documentation of terms used in this report is posted to the Child Count web page at education.state.mn.us > Districts, Schools and Educators > School Finance > Special Education > Child Count; Title: Special Education Instructions on Reporting Child Count.

 

The students included on MARSS 33 will differ from those included on the MARSS 23 Special Education report that is posted to your local MARSS WES reports. Your local report includes students who are enrolled in your district; they may or may not be your residents. The statewide MARSS 33 Child Count report includes eligible resident students enrolled in other districts.

 

MARSS Reporting of Students Experiencing Homelessness and Economic Indicator

Homelessness

Each district or charter school should have a designated Homeless Liaison. The district’s or charter school’s Homeless Liaison is identified in MDE-ORG as a contact.

 

A district’s/charter school’s Homeless Liaison must provide certification to the MARSS Coordinators to ensure that the student is eligible to report as Homeless. The documentation may be provided in a spreadsheet or a form. The document needs to be signed and dated by the Homeless Liaison. The date that the student is determined to be homeless is based on when the homeless situation occurred, not when the Homeless Liaison first learned of the homelessness or met with the family. The district’s Homeless Liaison needs to re-evaluate the student at the beginning of the next year to determine if they are still identified as homeless.

 

Beginning in school year 2016-17, once the student has been identified as homeless, a new enrollment record needs to be created with Homeless Flag = “Y”. The start date should be the initial night of homelessness. The end date can be the last date the student was known to be homeless or the end of the school year. Either way is acceptable; however, a warning message will be generated indicating an earlier record exists in which the student is reported as homeless when a new enrollment record is generated when the student moves into established housing. This warning message can be ignored. Please view the Homeless Student Flag Data Element in the MARSS Manual for more information.

 

Economic Indicator

For compensatory revenue calculations, current year verifications must be signed and processed by the homeless liaison between July 1 and December 15, for the student to be reported as free-meal eligible. The district has until the final Fall MARSS deadline to include the information indicating that the student is eligible for a free meal. Districts should be sure to report the highest eligibility on the student’s record that spans October 1.

 

Because there are several scenarios in which a new enrollment record needs to be created for a student (e.g., homelessness, resident district change, special education status change), the MARSS Coordinator needs to take special care on accurately reporting the Economic Indicator in the Fall. If the student became homeless after October 1, a second enrollment record will be created for the student. Be sure to change the Economic Status to free-meal eligible on the student’s first enrollment record so that the compensatory revenue student counts are accurate.

 

Impact to Transportation Funding for Children Awaiting Foster Care Based on Changes in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

New Guidance:

Until the provision takes place on December 10, 2016, a student awaiting foster placement may still be considered to be homeless by the district or charter school’s homeless liaison. This would authorize the payment of state special education aid to cover the additional cost of transportation for the student through the end of the 2016-17 school year as a formerly homeless student.

 

Beginning December 10, 2016, students that are identified as children awaiting foster care are no longer considered homeless and will therefore not be eligible for McKinney-Vento services unless they meet the revised definition of “homeless children and youths.” The students would no longer be eligible to be reported as homeless on MARSS. The students would not qualify for Special Education Aid for transportation. According to ESSA, the district would be responsible to provide transportation to the school of origin for students awaiting foster care, if applicable, however, the cost would not be eligible in UFARS under Finance Code 728 for Special Education Aid. In addition, the student cannot be reported in MARSS with 06 - Special Transportation Category if the student is provided modified transportation because he/she is awaiting foster care.

 

Can Title I, Part A homeless set-aside funds be used to fund transportation for homeless children?

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) authorizes the use of Title I, Part A funds for transportation to the school of origin for homeless children and youth for costs of transportation if other state and local funding sources are exhausted. These funds can also be used to help fund other kinds of transportation, such as transportation to early childhood education programs, extra-curricular activities and academic enrichment services for homeless children and youth; however, these funds cannot be used for transportation of children in or awaiting foster care.

 

Title IV-E Dollars

Federal child welfare reimbursement dollars are available to assist with transportation. To be eligible for IV-E reimbursement, the child must meet all eligibility requirements under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act for foster care, including that the child has been: (see full article in memo)

 

Program Guidance:

Districts and charter schools should seek other resources to cover their transportation expenditures for transporting students in foster care or awaiting foster care. Local counties may have funds available.

 

Other Provisions:

Students in foster care or awaiting foster care continue to be eligible for free meals, Title I services before and after the December 10, 2016, change.

 

Warning Message #364 Direct Certification (DC)

If the student has been verified as the same student enrolled in the school, the student can be reported as free-meal eligible on MARSS, Economic Indicator of 2. If they are different students, the district must have an eligible Application for Educational Benefits or Alternate Application for Educational Benefits on file to report the student as eligible for the free or reduced-price meal program. The Economic Indicator data for students enrolled on October 1 are used to calculate a district’s or charter school’s compensatory revenue for the following school year.

 

There may be students who are identified on MARSS warning #364 who are not on the district’s/charter school’s Direct Certification list. The MARSS Error Report may be more current than the CLiCS Direct because the MARSS WES edit looks for a new DHS file nightly. Direct Certification reports are run less frequently. Also, the MARSS WES edit looks for students where ever they were reported as enrolled on the Fall MARSS files while the Direct Certification list looks for the student only where they were most recently enrolled. The lists serve two, slightly different purposes.

 

Statute allows districts and charter schools to update each student’s free/reduced-price meal eligibility through December 15 each year. The Direct Certification match is updated periodically with new files from DHS resulting in a cumulative file of matches since the beginning of the fiscal year. The MARSS edit will be refreshed nightly until December 15, 2016. After December 15, the direct certification edit will use the December 15 match file through the last Fall MARSS submission.

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