Submit or Appeal Your Petition
Once your charter school petition is complete and signatures have been gathered, you are ready to submit it for approval.
Submitting your Petition
You are likely submitting your petition, with required signatures, to a local authorizer. Some districts require advanced notice, others a letter of intent prior to submission; while none of these is articulated in the Education Code, find out what (if anything) the district expects before submitting.
The CDE requires both physical copies and electronic copies of the complete charter petition. Plan to submit at least one physical copy of the complete petition and obtain a delivery signature and dated receipt. Emailing an electronic copy, in addition to sending a physical copy, is usually a good idea and one that is appreciated by district staff.
Once submitted, the district has 30 days to hold a hearing on the charter petition and another 30 days to make a final decision. Extensions may be granted by mutual consent up to a total of 90 days.
It is not uncommon for a district to hold a hearing within 30 days after submittal. However the decision period will likely be longer than 30 days. Check with your sponsoring district to find out what their process is. Some districts will review drafts before formal submittal. Others, such as Los Angeles Uunified, have a long process, and we strongly encourage submitting a draft in early fall to get a decision by March or April.
Reasons for Denial
There are the five legal "findings" on which an authorizer can deny a charter petition. They are:
- The charter school presents an unsound educational program for the pupils to be enrolled in the charter school.
- The petitioners are demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the program set forth in the petition.
- The petition does not contain the number of signatures required by subdivision (a).
- The petition does not contain an affirmation of each of the conditions described in subdivision (d).
- The petition does not contain reasonably comprehensive descriptions of all of the required elements (ed code 47605 (b))
If denied at the local level, developers can appeal to the county board of education and if necessary to the State Board of Education. The same timelines apply as above. It's foreseeable that the appeals process can take as long as 180 days--all the more reason to submit early in the fall.
The State Board of Education has established criteria for the review and approval of charter schools on appeal. CCSA strongly recommends that petitioners write to the SBE criteria regardless of who your authorizer will be. This will prepare petitioners for a successful appeal should they be denied at the local and county levels.
A petition may not be modified or edited in any way during the appeals process. Although some counties and often the State Board will ask for clarification and may allow supplemental materials, assume that once submitted no more revisions will be allowed.
As a membership benefit, the Association offers a petition review prior to submission. Join the Association today!