Overview - Application Process
Application Deadlines

Missouri Charter Public School Commission accepts application on an ongoing basis.

  • Applications must be approved by the State Board of Education by January 31 in order to open the following school year. 
  • Schools planning to open the next school year must have a final application to the Commission by August 1. 
  • Applications received after August 1 will be reviewed for opening in the year following the next school year. .
LEA Status

Schools wishing to amend their charter to become a local education agency (LEA) must amend their performance contracts pursuant to Policy 3.03, by March 1. 

  • LEA status shall become effective July 1 of the same year. 
  • DESE will then provide the school with a list of all regulations applicable to LEAs within 30 days. See RSMo 160.405.6
Who Can Apply for a Charter School

An inquiry for a new charter school may be made by parents, community leaders, social entrepreneurs, businesses, teachers, school districts, and municipalities.

  • Interested parties must submit a charter school Letter of Intent (LOI) and Prospectus.
  • Existing design applicants must show that their proposed school is similar to an existing model and may choose to become their own Local Education Agency (LEA).
Application Review
  • Applications are reviewed by staff and subject experts based on various criteria.  
  • A public hearing is held to allow for presentation and comments.
  • The approval process ensures compliance with Missouri statutes and regulations.
  • The State Board of Education has the final say on approving or denying an application.

The Missouri Charter Public School Commission reserves the right to modify its deadline.

Submission of LOL and Prospectus

Submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to Apply and a Prospectus.

  • This alerts the Commission of your interest and allows us to plan for your submission.
  • The Commission will review your LOI and Prospectus to determine if an applicant is invited to apply.

Letter of Intent to Apply Instructions:

  • Applicants are advised to file the LOI and Prospectus at least sixty days in advance of the expected submittal date. 
  • Letters of intent may be sent to the proposed charter sponsoring agency by postal mail or via e-mail message (see "Contact Information" below). 

A letter of intent to apply should include:

  • Name of organization proposing the charter school.
  • Proposed name of school. 
  • Proposed location of school.
  • Brief description of student population and number of students to be served.
  • Unique educational opportunities to be provided by the charter school.
  • Application contact person(s).
  • Telephone and E-mail address(es) of contact person(s).​​​​​

These documents are reviewed by the Commission to determine if the applicant will be invited to apply. 

  • Indicate if the school will be a "new design" or "existing design" applicant. 
    • An existing design applicant is one that is proposing to: 
      • Replicate one or more existing schools, or
      • Convert a private school to a charter school.
      • Must point to at least one school that is similar overall to what the applicant is proposing.
      • Show how individuals or organizations that have operated similar schools will be involved in the creation of the proposed school.
      • Applicants must determine if they are seeking to become a Local Education Agency (LEA).  
        • LEAs are the administrative entity responsible for managing and overseeing the provision of education services. 
        • Charter schools may be their own LEA or elect to use the host district as their LEA. 
        • The LEA must report data directly to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Services. 
        • The LEA receives payments for all students in the LEA. 
Invitation to Apply

Applicants invited to apply to the Commission will be required to submit documents online.

  • Download a copy of the application here
    • Applications are only accepted by invitation.
Application Review

Applications will be reviewed by staff and subject experts engaged by MCPSC.

  • Trained reviewers will use Missouri State Statute, State Regulations, Principals and Standards and the evaluation expectations outlined for each section. 
  • Based on the recommendation of staff and prior to a formal vote to approve, MCPSC will hold a public hearing on the proposed charter school.
The Public Hearing
  • The hearing will be held in the school district, and if possible, the community or neighborhood the proposed charter school plans to operate.  
  • Applicants will have an opportunity to present their application to the public, media and Commission members.
  • The 15-minute presentation will be followed by an open comment session to allow those who attend to provide supportive or opposing comments and to raise questions. 
    • This hearing typically last 90 minutes.
Commission Interviews Board

During the time between the public hearing and formal vote to approve the charter school, the Commission will interview applicants and the board members.

  • Commissioners will ask questions concerning the information provided in the application, the capacity of the board and potential staff to govern and lead the school.
  • The Commissioners may pursue questions based on the comments generated at the public hearing.  (The public and media are invited to attend but may not participate in the interview.)
Commission Sponsorship

The decision to approve or deny an application is taken in open session at a public Commission meeting, using the information gathered through the reviews, public comments and the board interview.

  • MCPSC and staff use the “Principles and Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing” published by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers as a foundation of its charter school authorizing and sponsorship program.

Following the Commission’s approval of the final application, a charter agreement (that includes a performance contract and a letter of sponsorship) are submitted to the Charter School Office at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for review.

  • After the review, the Office may provide feedback to the Commission and applicant on sections that need to be strengthened to meet Missouri Statutes or Department regulation. A final edited application is provided to the Department and a request for approval is placed on the agenda of the next State Board of Education meeting.

The State Board of Education has 60 days from submission to approve or deny an application (if it fails to meet statute or regulation.)

State Board of Education Authorization

Applicants denied by the Commission may seek sponsorship through the State Board of Education.

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