Starting a Charter School


The charter school movement needs motivated and visionary leaders to drive positive change in education for the next generation. Can your team be that group that opens the next innovative school program?

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Understanding the Landscape

California charter schools are primarily bound by California Education Code 47605. Learn about the applicable laws and regulations, as well as the various charter school authorizing bodies.

Learn about the California charter school landscape.

Understanding the Timeline

Some activities have specific calendar year deadlines, so where your particular activities start, end or overlap may be dependent on when you begin.

Read an overview of the charter school development process.

Develop the Petition

Petitions must address a number of elements, including the proposed school’s educational program, measurable pupil outcomes, governance structure, and budget. Learn more about how to write a successful petition for a California charter school.

Creating a Budget

Charter school leaders get to decide where to best spend their money, from hiring the right people, to renovating current facilities, to investing in the newest education technology for the classroom. However, with this autonomy comes risk. Explore the four steps of charter school budgeting and financial management.

Engaging the Community

Active community engagement is critical to both petition approval and the sustainability of your school. Authorizers will take notice of strong community support, which assists in establishing credibility. This section describes the process for engaging your community for charter school success.

Submitting the Petition

Once your charter school petition is complete and signatures have been gathered you are ready to submit it for approval. Learn the basics of the submission process, potential reasons for denial, and how to appeal. Read more.

School Conversion

Many new charter schools are formed through the conversion of traditional public schools. Find out more about the factors driving conversion and key considerations for schools that are considering that option.

Find a Facility

Finding and preparing a charter school facility can be one of the most daunting aspects of starting a charter school. Learn what you can reasonably do to convince the authorizer that you have the information necessary to successfully implement your program in suitable facilities.