Charter schools are independent public schools of choice for parents and students. The first charter schools in the nation opened in Minnesota in 1992. Charter schools continue to be a popular choice for students seeking an alternative to traditional public schools. Currently there are 150 charter schools in operation in Minnesota serving more than 43,000 students.
Charter schools offer a unique educational program and students can expect quality education based on results. Charter schools employ licensed teachers, offer services to special needs students and require students to take state and national tests to assure academic accountability. They do not charge tuition, and there are no admission requirements to enroll students in charter schools. New charter schools with exciting programs open their doors to students every year in Minnesota. Parents may contact charter schools directly to find out about the type of programs they offer and their enrollment options.
High-Quality Charter Schools Eligible to Apply for Replication/Significant Expansion Grants
MDE intends to award federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) Planning/Implementation grants to existing high-quality charter schools that wish to significantly expand or replicate the charter school beyond plans approved in the school’s original affidavit and charter. Grants are awarded for up to three years (one year of planning, first two years of operation) and range from $100,000-225,000 per year.
An interim definition of “high-quality” incorporates MCA proficiency and growth (and graduation rate for high schools) along with a demographic comparison. 24 charter schools have been designated as “high-quality” for 2014 based on the interim definition. Over the next few years, MDE will be working to develop a comprehensive performance framework that incorporates multiple indicators of success (including operational and financial performance indicators) that will replace the interim definition. Read the method and process for determining eligibility. View a list of the 24 eligible charter schools.
Early Learning Program Guidance for Charter Schools and Authorizers
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is pleased to announce guidance for charter schools and authorizers who wish to seek official MDE recognition of their instructional programs for three- to five-year-olds. Upon official recognition by MDE, a charter school may be eligible to receive additional funding for these programs. Read Commissioner Brenda Cassellius’s announcement letter to charter schools and authorizers.
Additional guidance information is available for charter school directors and authorizers: