Massachusetts Charter Schools

Apply to Open a Charter Public School

Apply to Open a Charter School (New Operators)

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 an initial application 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.

Initial applications 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 2021-2022 Charter School Application and Review Process Timeline (Standard)

ActionDue Date
Letter of Intent DeadlineFriday, July 30, 2021 by 12:00 noon
Initial Application DeadlineMonday, August 16, 2021 by 12:00 noon
Proven Provider Request Deadline (as applicable)Monday, August 16, 2021 by 12:00 noon
Commissioner Invites Selected Applicant Groups to Submit Final ApplicationSeptember 2021
Proven Provider Determination by Commissioner (as applicable)September 2021
Final Application DeadlineMonday, November 15, 2021 by 12:00 noon
Public HearingsDecember 2021
Final Applicant InterviewsDecember 2021
Commissioner Decision and Board Vote (if recommended)February 2022

Horace Mann II applicants are encouraged to adhere to the standard schedule but may submit an initial application at any time. Applicants for Horace Mann II charter schools that choose not to follow 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 initial application and final application, a minimum of four months.

  • FY2022 Enrollment Projections by District for New Applications and Expansion Amendments
    The 2021-2022 projections do not guarantee the number of seats available for award in any district in FY2022. The actual number of seats that may be available for award in any district in any particular year cannot be predicted with certainty and is dependent on several factors, including district enrollment, district spending levels, student enrollment for existing charter schools, and changes in the net school spending caps of individual districts.

Please contact Alyssa Hopkins with any questions about seat availability or the 2021-2022 charter application process.

Last Updated: September 2, 2021

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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