In California, to get a charter school approved, an authorizer (usually a school district) needs to be sent a petition, which is basically an application for the approval of the charter school. While education code lays out 15 required elements that, in theory, if you include all of these (plus a few other requirements), then a school district is legally supposed to approve the petition and the school.
But in practice, there is often much more involved to get a charter school approved, which affects how the petition should be written. But by following the 5 key strategies listed below, I have had great success with authoring petitions that have been approved by school boards.
- Follow the State Board of Education’s best practices for petition elements as listed in Title 5 § 11967.5.1
- Cite the Education Code or Regulations you are following, and write out appropriate snippets of the Education Code or Regulations when introducing a section of the petition.
- Understand the perspective of the three roles of those who will be involved with your petition at the district:
- The staff and lawyers in charge of reading the petition
- The superintendent
- The board members who will ultimately approve the petition
- Get the details right, and know what you are talking about
- Be ready to appeal