Charter School Program

The Expanding Opportunities: Missouri Charter School Program (CSP) is a U.S. Department of Education grant of $35.5 million awarded to help Missouri expand opportunities for students to attend quality charter public schools.

Missouri’s CSP program has three objectives:

  • Increase the number of quality Missouri charter public school seats, especially for our most educationally disadvantaged students.
  • Support quality charter school authorizing in Missouri, through the dissemination and support of best authorizer practices statewide.
  • Codify and share lessons from high-performing charter public schools across the education ecosystem.

We invite all eligible charter schools in Missouri to apply for this transformative subgrant and join us in advancing educational opportunities for our students. To learn more visit our CSP Portal, today!


01 Eligibility

Grant applicants must conform to the federal definition of a public charter school in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESSA) to be eligible for grant funds under the CSP.

Both traditional school districts that are charter authorizers, like St. Louis Public Schools and Kansas City Public Schools, are eligible to apply for funding alongside charter public schools seeking to expand or launch.

Eligibility overview:

  • New and existing high-quality charter public schools across the State of Missouri
  • K-12 grades are eligible for CSP funding
  • Awards are divided into three types:
    • New Schools – a new charter public school
    • Expanding Schoolsthe addition of one or more grades to an existing charter public school
    • Replicating Schools – a new charter public school, or a new campus of a high-quality charter public school, based on the educational model of an existing high-quality charter public school

02 Peer Review Working Group

To ensure sub grants are awarded to the most capable applicants, each proposal for a CSP sub grant will be reviewed by an external Peer Review working group. The working group will be composed of teams of three reviewers, selected through an application process.

These reviewers will receive training on the effective use of a Peer Review Rubric to rate potential sub grant proposals. Individuals selected as peer reviewers must be well informed regarding education, education policy, evaluation, and operations of public charter schools.

Click here for more information about the peer review working group or contact us at

03 Awarded Applicants

Awarded applicants are evaluated on a number of criteria, including instructional leadership, governance, the ability to attract and retain talent, sustainable financial practices, demonstrable market demand, and an innovative and effective educational model.

The first subgrant competition will take place in Winter 2024 with awards expected in late April


Round 1 awardees announced here.

04 Charter School Program Defined

What is the Charter School Program State Entity (CSP-SE) program? 

The CSP State Entities program is a federal initiative of the US Department of Education designed to support the development and expansion of high-quality charter schools across the United States. 

This federal program was first authorized in 1994 under the Clinton Administration and has received bipartisan support since, growing from $4.5M in annual funding to over $100M this year. 

Grant announcements can be found here and here.

What is the money for?

Over the next five years, The Opportunity Trust will design and administer a competitive, peer-reviewed award program to distribute subgrants to new, expanding, and replicating charter schools across the state. 

90% of the state’s overall $35.5 million award is passed directly to schools for the purpose of defraying start-up and expansion costs. 

A dedicated set-aside (7% of the total award) is allocated to other partners to provide essential training, resources, and technical support to charter school operators and sponsors across the state.  

CSP Key Dates

June 7 – June 21, 2024
CSP: Letter of Intent (LOI) Submission Window
Eligibility Check Submission Window
September 4 – September 11, 2024
CSP: Capacity Interviews with Round 2 Finalists
July 2, 2024
CSP: Eligible Round 2 Candidates Notified after LOI submission
June 10 – June 20, 2024
CSP: Office Hours for Round 2 LOI related questions
Registration link coming soon.
July 11 – August 12, 2024
CSP: Office Hours for RFA related questions
Registration details coming soon.
July 10, 2024
CSP: RFA Opens for Eligible Round 2 Applicants
August 13, 2024
CSP: RFA Round 2 Application Closes
September 13 – September 30, 2024
CSP: Round 2 Awards Announced
August 19 – August 30, 2024
CSP: Round 2 Peer Review Period

We are honored and excited. This funding will enable us to continue our mission of expanding access to high-quality public educational opportunities for students in St. Louis and across Missouri. We remain committed to fostering innovation in education, cultivating strong community partnerships, and ensuring that every child has the opportunity to thrive in a quality learning environment.

Keith Williamson, Board Chair, The Opportunity Trust

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