Board of Public Education


Public Charter School Application Due November 1, 2023 to 

Complete Packet of Public Charter School Applications

Public Charter School Evaluation Criteria

Public Charter School Approval Timeline


HB 549 (2023) authorized the establishment of public charter schools in Montana and tasked the Montana Board of Public Education as the sole entity authorized to enter into public charter contracts with a governing board. There are two types of public charter schools – those operating under an existing local school board and those operating as a new school district under a separate governing board. This Public Charter School Application is for both options.

A public charter school means a public school that has autonomy over decisions including, but not limited to, matters concerning finance, personnel, scheduling, curriculum, and instruction as defined in a public charter contract. Public charter schools are governed by a local school board, or in the case of a governing board other than a local school board, by the governing board of the public charter school district of which the public charter school is a part. Public charter schools are established and operated under the terms of a public charter contract and allows parents to choose to enroll their children. Public charter schools must admit students based on a lottery if more students apply for admission than can be accommodated.

Public charter schools provide a program of education that may include any or all grades from kindergarten through grade 12 and vocational education programs and operates in pursuit of a specific set of educational objectives as defined in its public charter contract.

The evaluation of your application will focus on whether implementing the proposals in your application will lead to the academic, organizational, and financial performance you are promising in exchange for potential broad flexibility from Montana’s education standards. The evaluation will also determine whether:

  • There is an established need for the proposed public charter school;
  • The proposed public charter school meets the needs of all its students;
  • The proposed public charter school is of the highest academic quality;
  • The proposed public charter school will provide a healthy learning environment and positive school climate;
  • The proposed governing board demonstrates the capacity to implement the plan outlined in the application with fidelity; and
  • The proposed public charter school will provide an educational opportunity to students that they would not otherwise receive at the traditional school they are zoned to attend.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to review all information and resources available on the Board’s webpage under the Public Charter School tab prior to drafting and submitting a public charter school application.


To facilitate the Montana Board of Public Education’s review of public charter school applications, applicants must submit the application to no later than November 1, 2023. The Board will review the public charter school application, and if completed, will facilitate an interview, and take public comment on the application on November 30, 2023 at a special Board meeting to be held virtually. Final approval of the application will take place at the January 18-19, 2024 Board meeting.

We recognize that this application does not provide the space to fully and accurately respond to each of the questions in the application. Attachments and appendices are permitted. Please make sure to clearly state where corresponding responses are located within the application.

Please note that submitting a public charter school application does not guarantee that a public charter school contract will be granted. Failure of an applicant to adhere to any requirement may yield a defective application that is rejected before consideration. In addition, complete applications that are not strong enough to guarantee a successful public charter school implementation will be recommended for denial.

Hi, I can help answer your questions!