Backfilling in Charter Schools
Backfilling is the practice of enrolling new students in a charter public school when students leave the school. It can apply to students who enroll in the middle of the school year (e.g., a school chooses to enroll a new 3rd grade student to replace one who leaves in the middle of the academic year) or students who enroll in grades other than the school’s “entry point” grade (e.g., a K-5 school chooses to enroll new 3rd grade students to fill open 3rd grade spots at the beginning of the academic year, which is not the school’s “entry point” grade of kindergarten). The backfilling issue revolves around two questions: Does a school enroll new students when other students leave? If so, when does the school enroll those new students?
This paper, Backfilling in Charter Schools, provides examples that highlight the diversity of approaches to backfilling, explores the arguments made on both sides of the backfilling issue, and offers options for future work on this issue for states and organizations to consider.