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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 2018-2019 Charter School Application and Review Process Timeline (Standard)

The Department has revised the deadline for final applications from November 1 to October 25 due to the 2018-2019 meeting schedule of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

ActionDue Date
Letter of Intent DeadlineTuesday, June 12, 2018 by 12:00 noon
Prospectus Deadline*Wednesday, August 1, 2018 by 12:00 noon
Proven Provider Request Deadline (as applicable)Wednesday, August 1, 2018 by 12:00 noon
Commissioner Invites Selected Applicant groups to Submit Final ApplicationSeptember 2018
Proven Provider Determination by Commissioner (as applicable)September 2018
Revised Final Application DeadlineThursday, October 25, 2018 by 12:00 noon

* 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 Tuesday, September 11, 2018 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 12:00 noon.

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.

Download Excel Document
Enrollment Projections by District for New Applications and Expansion Amendments
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Commonwealth and Horace Mann Charter School Application for New Operators 2018-2019
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Five Year Budget and First Year Cash Flow Projection Template
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Applicant Questionnaire
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Instructions for Individual Candidates seeking Proven Provider
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Instructions for EMO/CMO/SSO seeking Proven Provider

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
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Checklist for Enrollment Policy and Application for Admission
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Draft Recruitment and Retention Plan for Applicant Use
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Required Elements of Contracts for Educational Services for Applicant Use
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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: July 30, 2018
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