Charter School Petition Development

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


A group of innovative educators wished to start a charter school, and needed to ensure that their vision for a school could come to fruition.


Highlands Community Charter School
NORCAL Trade & Tech


School and Program Development