Apply for a Charter

Missouri Charter Public School Commission Application Process

Missouri is looking for new high quality public schools to serve all children. The Missouri Charter Public School Commission is especially interested in new schools that wish to serve students who do not currently have access to a quality public school where they live. The Commission also gives priority to charter school applicants that propose a school oriented to high-risk students and to the re-entry of dropouts into the school system. 

You can download the Commissions' application review process. The Standards, Policies and Practices section will provide you with information about the work of the Commission. The Materials and Resources section provides you with access to the current application and various contacts who may help you as your complete your application.

Still have questions? We are here for you. Reach out to us at

Rolling Deadline

MCPSC will accept applications at any time.  The Commission has 90 days to review applications and determine if it will sponsor the proposed school.

Missouri Statutes require charters be granted by the State Board of Education by January 31 (see 160.405 RSMo) in order to open school the following school year. In order to meet this deadline, applications must be received by MCPSC before August 1.

Applications received August 1 or after will be reviewed for opening a year following the next school year, unless otherwise decided by the Commission.


As soon as a group decides to submit an application, they should submit a Letter of Intent 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 - On the Letter of Intent to Apply form, an applicant must indicate whether it wants to be considered a "new design" or "existing design" applicant. An existing design applicant is one that is proposing to: a) replicate one or more existing schools, or b) convert a private school to a charter school. Existing design applicants must point to at least one school that is substantially similar overall to what the applicant is proposing. To constitute a replication, the school must go beyond the use of curriculum and structure, and demonstrate how the culture of the school will be substantially similar to the model. The applicant must show that individuals or organizations that have operated similar schools will be deeply involved in the creation of the proposed school.

Determine LEA Status - 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 receive payment for all students in the LEA.  

Invitation to Apply - Those applicants invited to apply to the Commission will be required to submitted through a online process. For your convenience, you can download a copy of the application here. The Commission will only accept applications by invitation and through the online process.

Application Review

Applications will be reviewed by staff and subject experts engaged by MCPSC. Reviewers will use Missouri State Statute, Code of 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 sponsorship, MCPSC will hold a public hearing on the proposed charter school. The public hearing will be held in the school district, and if possible, in the community or neighborhood the proposed charter school plans to locate. Applicants will have an opportunity to present their application to the public, media and Commission members. This 15 minute presentation will be followed by open comment session to allow those who attend to provide supportive or opposing comments and to raise questions. This hearing typically last 90 minutes.

After the public hearing and prior to a 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 and 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 a charter application is taken in open session at a public meeting of the Commission and is based on 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.

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

Following approval by the Commission 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. The Office will review the application and 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.)