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Opening a new charter school is a complex process and many activities must happen in parallel. Some activities have specific calendar year deadlines, so where your particular activities start, end or overlap may be dependent on when you begin. This is a simple, generic overview of the charter school development process.

  • Petition: Researching, writing and revising the petition can take from three to twelve months depending on your work schedule and the size and commitment of your team. Most of that time will be spent researching and developing the education program and designing a balanced budget

  • Signatures: Charter petitions cannot be submitted without signatures from teachers and/or interested parents. Authorizers increasingly verify signatures and deny petitions for any discrepancies.

  • Submission: With appeals, the submission process can last upwards of six months. We encourage petitioners to submit charters by September of the year prior to which they wish to open.

  • Facility: Keep an eye out for school site facilities throughout the development process. There are important submission deadlines for petitioners seeking district provided facilities.

  • Recruiting: The charter cycle is not well aligned with the recruiting cycle for teachers and administrators. Charter authorization and the funding often come after they typical spring recruitment window has closed. We encourage all developers to submit as early as possible.

  • Funding/Budget: Funding for education continues to be tight. It takes creative financing to fund a comprehensive program. The National Resource Center on Charter School Finance and Governance offers a catalog of federal funding sources that can be used to support charter schools and programs and provides information on how each federal funding program works and how to access these funds.

Important Dates in the Development Process

Note: Additional deadlines may apply in many situations.

  • Oct. 15: - Submit Petition. Many local authorizers request fall submission. We strongly recommend petitioners submit as early in school calendar as possible.
  • Nov. 1: - Deadline for requesting a facility from a school district under Proposition 39.
  • Nov. 1: - Petition must be submitted to authorizer on or before November 1 if filing a request for a district facility under Prop. 39.
  • March 15: - Facilities request. Petition must be approved prior to March 15 to qualify for Prop. 39 request
  • March 25: - Must be approved by mid to late March to ensure timely release of funds for September opening