Massachusetts Charter Schools

2016-2017 Charter Application Process [Prospective New Operators]

To:Potential Charter Applicants
From:Cliff Chuang, Senior Associate Commissioner
Date:May 9, 2016

Thank you for your interest in improving public education in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) recognizes that the establishment of a high quality charter public school is an arduous and rewarding endeavor. The Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign oversees the charter application process on behalf of the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education (Commissioner). I encourage all potential charter applicants to contact our office at or 781-338-3227 with any questions about the charter application process and application requirements. For the 2016-2017 charter application process, the Department will accept applications for new Commonwealth charters in the majority of districts, with the exception of Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, and Malden. The Department strongly encourages applicants to propose schools in areas of the Commonwealth that are currently underserved by high quality charter schools and where seats are available under current net school spending (NSS) caps.1 Please note that all applicants for the approximately 225 seats projected to be available for award in Boston will experience an extremely competitive process amongst existing charter school operators and prospective operators. Any interest in Boston from prospective operators must be communicated to the Department via a letter of intent due June 15. Please also note that several districts may not have sufficient seats available to support a viable new school. In the case of Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, and Malden, all available seats have been granted and applications cannot be considered. Any remaining seats under the relevant NSS cap will be reserved to accommodate future fluctuations in the NSS caps. The Department annually publishes the list of school districts that perform in the lowest 10 percent on statewide assessments prior to the start of the charter application cycle. The lowest performing 10 percent of districts are subject to the higher 18 percent NSS cap. Applicants must be awarded proven provider status by the Commissioner to be eligible for seats above the standard 9 percent NSS cap. Applicant groups are cautioned that eligibility for charter award is impacted by the statutory requirement that at least two charters be awarded annually to applicant groups who are proposing to serve a lowest 10 percent district. If the Board does not grant at least two Commonwealth charters that would serve a lowest 10 percent district, no Commonwealth charter may be granted by the Board in a district that is not a lowest 10 percent district. All applicant groups will be kept informed by the Department of circumstances that impact their eligibility for charter award. line 1 The number of available seats published in this year's application is estimated and subject to change. The actual number of seats that will be available 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 potential changes to the applicable NSS cap for the district of interest.

Last Updated: May 10, 2016

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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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