Charter Schools Application Process

Procedures for Applying for Charter Status

An application for a new charter school may be made by an individual, teachers, parents, a group of individuals, a municipality, or a legal entity organized under the laws of the state of Florida. 

Optional Application Overview Meeting

In past years, prospective charter applicants were invited to attend an optional in-person meeting during which the District Charter School Administrator reviewed the various components of the application process, and explained how charter school applications are reviewed and approved.

Because of the world health crisis with the novel Corona virus and Covid-19, we are not going to follow our in-person meeting protocol this year.

Rather, once a prospective applicant has reviewed the Application Process documents, the applicant is welcome to contact the district charter office and arrange to conference with or have a zoom meeting with the Charter School Administrator.

Submitting an Optional Letter of Intent

Potential applicants are advised to file a letter of intent to apply at least sixty days in advance of the expected submittal date. Letters of intent may be sent to the District's charter school liaison 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 fax numbers.
  • E-mail address(es) of contact person(s).

Technical Requirements for Submitting an Application

Proposals must comply with the requirements of the appropriate Florida model application. Proposals must comply with School Board Policy 2.28.

  • Proposals (Applications) must be be presented in reviewable format and must include (a) two printed, collated paper copies and (b) one complete digital copy.
  • Paper copies should be printed on letter size (8½ by 11 inches) white paper.
  • Paper copies should include tabs for major sections and for appendices.
  • Paper copies should not be bound, but may be punched and placed in suitable binders.
  • All pages of the application and appendices should have page numbers.
  • The application should have a table of contents.
  • The full application (including the question prompts) should not exceed 110 pages for applicants completing only the standard application or 140 pages for applicants required to complete the Charter School Application Appendum (for replications or educational service providers).
  • Pages must be formatted using one side of the page with no less than one-inch margins, must be single-spaced, and must use a font no smaller than 12 points. Care should be taken to ensure readability of all pages. Decorative or narrow typefaces should be avoided.
  • The printed copies and the digital copies must be faithful copies of each other.
  • The digital copy may be provided on a USB flash device or may be posted in an online depository to which the District has been provided access. At this time, the District cannot accept files on other digital media.
  • The digital copy must contain the entire application in a single, searchable, unprotected file in PDF or Microsoft Word format, except that financial appendices may be presented as separate PDF, Word, or Excel format files.
  • Files from digital media will be transferred to the District Web page for review. Digital media on which such files are submitted is not retained and will not be returned.
  • Proposals (Applications) must be received in the Office of the Superintendent no later than 4:00 P.M. EST on February 1st of each year, or the next day of business after that in years when February 1st does not fall on a business day.

Applications for charter schools seeking to open in the 2022-2023 school year are due by 4:00 P.M. EST on Monday, February 1, 2021.

Obtaining Technical Assistance

We want to help you make your application the best that it can be. Although District staff cannot assist applicants in the writing of their actual proposal, technical assistance is available.

Applicants are encouraged to review previous applications and previous reviews to improve their own applications.

Applicants who are not fluent with digital file management and preparation are encouraged to contact Grants and Program Development Department. Assistance can be arranged if requested well in advance of the submittal deadline. A request for assistance on or near the submittal deadline will of necessity be quite limited, and will likely not be available at all.

Notice of Public Records Status

All applications and all communications regarding applications are public records in the State of Florida, and are posted here as such. The State of Florida and the School District of Lee County hold perpetual and irrevocable license to freely store, post, publish, share, distribute, and make available online any and all communications and documents related to submittal of a charter school application. However, applications are not in the public domain unless placed there by their authors or by applicable law, and authors may retain copyright over their original work. Current and future applicants or anyone else wishing to use any portion of a previous application for any purpose should consult the copyright holder directly for permission to do so. The School District of Lee County does not manage copyrights, licenses, or permissions for applicants.

Contact Information

Application packages and other formal correspondence:

Dr. Gregory K. Adkins
Superintendent of Schools
Lee County Public Education Center
2855 Colonial Boulevard
Fort Myers, FL 33966-1012
(239) 337-8301

Letters of intent to apply, requests for information and assistance, and other correspondence:

Dr. Donna P. Schroll
Grants & Program Development
Administrator, Charter Schools
Lee County Public Education Center
2855 Colonial Boulevard
Fort Myers, FL 33966-1012
(239) 337-8115
DonnaPS@leeschools.net

Review Procedures

The digital copy of the application will be posted online and will be available to anyone. Related documents may also be posted.

An expert panel will review and evaluate all applications for charter status. The application and the reviewers' recommendations will be presented to the Superintendent. Once the Superintendent has determined what the recommendation will be, that recommendation will be placed on an agenda for the School Board's consideration.

The School Board shall, by a majority vote, approve or deny an application no later than 90 calendar days after the application is received unless a mutual agreement is made to temporarily postpone the vote to a specific date.

If an application is denied, the School Board will, within ten calendar days, articulate in writing the specific reasons based on good cause supporting its denial of the charter application to the State Board of Education.

Upon approval of a charter application, the terms and conditions for the operation of a charter school shall be formed in a written contractual agreement.

All accepted applications are reviewed by a panel of expert reviewers, and their reviews are posted here as a courtesy. These individual reviewers often respond only to a limited section of each application. This means that an an individual reviewer's recommendation to approve or deny an application is limited to that area only and only represents one reviewer's assessment. An individual reviewer's assessment by itself is intended be useful to all parties, but does not by itself constitute an overall decision to recommend approval or denial of the entire application.

The decision on whether or not to recommend approval of an application is made by the Superintendent of Schools based on the findings of this panel of reviewers. The final decision to approve or deny is made solely by the School Board of Lee County.

Some reviewers consider all applications and some reviewers do not. If there is no link for a particular reviewer, this does not necessarily mean that a review is forthcoming or should be expected. Reviews may appear at various times during the review period, so applicants should check this page regularly.

All accepted applications are reviewed at least once. Applicants will be provided at least seven calendar days to make technical or nonsubstantive corrections and clarifications, including, but not limited to, corrections of grammatical, typographical, and like errors, or missing signatures, if such errors are identified as cause to deny the application.

Any numbering of reviews (e.g. Review 1, Review 2) is a naming convention only and does not mean that a certain number of reviews will be forthcoming or should be expected.