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Massachusetts Charter Schools

Charter Developer Information

Apply to Open a Charter School (Standard)

Charter schools are public schools that are given the freedom to organize their activities around a core mission, curriculum, or teaching method and set their own budgets as well as manage their own staff. In return for this freedom, a charter school must demonstrate positive results within five years or lose its charter.

The Application for a Massachusetts Charter Public School: Proposed Commonwealth or Horace Mann Charter Schools is for use only by applicant groups who wish to form a charter school board of trustees and do not govern a current Massachusetts charter school. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) conducts a process that includes a prospectus and a final application phase, participation by internal and external reviewers for both phases, opportunities for written public comment and public hearings during the final application phase, as well as an interview with all final applicants.

Prospectuses and final applications are each reviewed against extensive criteria set forth in the charter statute, G.L. c. 71, § 89, and the charter school regulations, 603 CMR 1.04 and as further elaborated in the Application for a Massachusetts Charter Public School.

The objective of the charter application review process is to award charters to applicants who show the greatest probability of creating public schools of the highest quality.

Schedule for 2016-2017 Charter School Application and Review Process Timeline (Standard)

ActionDue Date
Letter of Intent DeadlineWednesday, June 15, 2016 by 5:00 p.m.
Prospectus Deadline*Monday, August 1, 2016 by 5:00 p.m.
Proven Provider Request Deadline (as applicable)Monday, August 1, 2016 by 5:00 p.m.
Commissioner Invites Selected Applicant groups to Submit Final ApplicationSeptember 2016
Proven Provider Determination by Commissioner (as applicable)September 2016
Final Application Deadline*Tuesday, November 1, 2016 by 5:00 p.m.

* All Horace Mann charter applicants will be permitted to submit their signed Certification Statement up to 6 weeks after the prospectus deadline to accommodate school committee meeting schedules. For Horace Mann I and III applicants, the deadline for signed Certification Statements is Monday, September 12, 2016 by 5:00 p.m. All other prospectus requirements for Horace Mann I and III applicants must be completed on or before the prospectus deadline of August 1 by 5:00 p.m.

Horace Mann II applicants are encouraged to adhere to the standard schedule, but may submit a prospectus at any time. Applicants for Horace Mann II charter schools that choose not to adhere to the standard schedule are subject to the same review process as all other Horace Mann and Commonwealth applicants with the same approximate length of time for review of the prospectus and final application, a minimum of four months.

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Memorandum regarding the 2016-2017 Charter Application Process
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District Information on Enrollment Projections for New Applications and Expansion Amendments
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Commonwealth and Horace Mann Charter School Application for New Operators 2016-2017
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Five Year Budget and First Year Cash Flow Projection Template 2016-2017 (For use at Prospectus and Final Application Stage; five year budget submission is required at the prospectus stage, not the first year cash flow projection.)
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Applicant Questionnaire 2016-2017
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Instructions for Individual Candidates seeking Proven Provider 2016-2017
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Instructions for EMO/CMO/SSO seeking Proven Provider 2016-2017

Application Resources

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Required Elements for English Language Education Policies and Procedures
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Required Elements for Special Education Policies and Procedures
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Checklist for Board of Trustees Bylaws 2016
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Checklist for Enrollment Policy and Application for Admission 2016
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Draft Recruitment and Retention Plan for Applicant Use 2016
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Required Elements of Contracts for Educational Services for Applicant Use 2016
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Required and Recommended Elements of a Memorandum of Understanding (Horace Mann) (Final draft of the Memorandum of Understanding must be submitted at the final application stage.)


Last Updated: May 10, 2016
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