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.
Questions and Answers about Charter Schools in Massachusetts
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.
All Horace Mann charter applicants will be permitted to submit their signed Certification Statement up to 6 weeks after the initial application deadline to accommodate school committee meeting schedules. For Horace Mann I and III applicants, the deadline for signed Certification Statements is Tuesday, September 26, 2023 by 5:00 p.m. All other initial application requirements for Horace Mann I and III applicants must be completed on or before the initial application deadline of August 1 by 12:00 noon.
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.
Commonwealth and Horace Mann Charter School Application for New Operators
Five Year Budget and First Year Cash Flow Projection Template
Applicant Questionnaire [Link to online questionnaire will be provided to members of the applicant group]
Instructions for Individual Candidates seeking Proven Provider
Instructions for EMO/CMO/SSO seeking Proven Provider
English Language Education Program Proposal
FY2024 Enrollment Projections by District for New Applications and Expansion Amendments
The 2023-2024 projections do not guarantee the number of seats available for award in any district in FY2024. 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 2023-2024 charter application process.
Last Updated: August 25, 2023
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370
Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.