Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Logo
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 2024-2025 Charter School Application and Review Process Timeline (Standard)

ActionDue Date
Letter of Intent Submission WindowJune 3, 2024 through July 26, 2024
Initial Application DeadlineMonday, August 5, 2024 by 12:00 noon
Proven Provider Request Deadline (as applicable)Monday, August 5, 2024 by 12:00 noon
Commissioner Invites Selected Applicant Groups to Submit Final ApplicationSeptember 2024
Proven Provider Determination by Commissioner (as applicable)September 2024
Final Application DeadlineThursday, October 31, 2024 by 12:00 noon
Public HearingsDecember 2024
Final Applicant InterviewsDecember 2024
Commissioner Decision and Board Vote (if recommended)February 2025

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 Monday, September 16, 2024 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 5 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.

  • FY2025 Enrollment Projections by District for New Applications and Expansion Amendments
    The 2024-2025 projections do not guarantee the number of seats available for award in any district in FY2025. 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 2024-2025 charter application process.

Last Updated: May 14, 2024

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

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.