New School Investments (Years 1-3): Application Process

GMS will provide support to new Minneapolis schools that demonstrate the greatest potential for becoming rigorous and relevant schools with high-performing outcomes for students.  Funding will be provided to support schools in their first three years of operation, at up to a maximum of $200,000 per year.  Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but please note that the GMS review process may take three to six months.

Eligible schools must meet the following criteria:

  1. Authorizer’s affidavit for the school has been approved by the MN Department of Education (MDE) and charter contract has been signed
  2. School will open within 18 months or is currently in its first two years of operation
  3. 501(c)(3) application to IRS for nonprofit tax-exempt status is pending or approved
  4. The school Director/Principal has been hired.
  5. Costs for pre-operational year(s) have been funded (e.g. school has been awarded grant from federal Charter School Program, New School Venture Fund, etc.)
  6. At least 40 percent of intended/current student population will be/are from low-income families
  7. At least 50 percent of intended/current student population will be/are Minneapolis residents
  8. School is not part of an existing local charter school network (Note: For new schools affiliated with a local network, please see GMS information on School Replication & Expansion.)
  9. School is financially sustainable on public funding at full enrollment (as demonstrated by 5-year budget plan – see below)

Interested applicants should contact GMS staff to discuss the above eligibility criteria prior to submitting the written proposal described in Phase I below. (Please contact Morgan Brown at mbrown@greatmnschools.org or 952-297-6791.)

Phase I:  Written Proposal & Leadership Discussion

School applicants are requested to submit the following information and documents:

  • A two to five page proposal (not including attachments) that addresses the following
  1. Confirmation that the school meets the eligibility criteria (please submit the form found here).
  2. Background on the school, including vision, mission, target population, and progress to date.
  3. A description of the school’s funding request with an attached budget. Note: All requested funding must be for startup costs during the school’s first three years of operation.
  4. School leader(s) track record of running great schools and/or driving strong student achievement.
  5. Evidence that the identified school model is predictive of high-performing outcomes for students.
  6. Evidence of parent/community engagement and support in the target neighborhood(s).
  7. Confirmation that a facility has been secured (e.g. signed lease agreement) or evidence of a sound and timely plan for identifying and leasing a facility.
  8. Roster of board members (with officers and committee chairs identified) and bios for each member.
  • Completed 5-year budget plan using financial model template provided by GMS.

After reviewing your application, the GMS team will request a meeting with your school’s leadership, where we are able to learn more about your proposed/existing school, including the leadership team, school model, community engagement efforts, human capital plan, financial plan, and operations. The applicant’s interview team may be up to 3 people and should include the Director/Principal and Board Chair.

Phase II:  Due Diligence

After completion of Phase I, successful applicants will enter a customized “due diligence” phase intended to address identified areas of concern, based on the Phase I review process. This phase is an opportunity for the GMS team and the school to learn more about each other, through content deep dives, school visits, and ongoing dialogue.

Advisory Panel:  Leadership Interview

To ensure broad support for new schools approved for GMS funding, we will convene an Advisory Panel to interview strong candidates. The panel will include reviewers with expertise in school start-up and/or community engagement. Schools that receive a recommendation for funding support by both the GMS team and the Advisory Panel will be brought to the GMS board for final approval.