Drafting a charter is a significant undertaking, and strong results are more likely when petitioners use a collaborative, team approach. Successful teams often have teaching and school leadership expertise, fiscal and school finance knowledge, education code and organizational understanding. The full charter document should reflect and align closely with your vision and mission, and provide appropriate detail on how your goals will be met. Toward completing a compelling Charter, you may wish to leverage the support offered by one of the Charter support organizations (see resources) or that of successful charter operators within the district (see current schools list). A preliminary conversation with the Charter School Coordinator can help to focus and sharpen a proposal.
When you feel your charter is ready for submission, please submit a “Letter of Intent” (see resources) to the Charter School Coordinator, preferably between August and March of the year prior to the academic year of the intended school opening, and three weeks prior to the regularly scheduled WCCUSD School Board Meeting. Please see the District calendar on the web site for School Board meeting dates, and details on the process for putting your presentation on the agenda. At least two weeks before the board hearing, petitioners should submit 7 paper copies of the petition on 8 ½ x 11” paper, and submit 7 thumb drives with your full petition and all appendices. Please use WORD and Excel if at all possible. Note that attention to detail will support evaluators in a thorough review of your documents. Paper charter submissions are to be presented in binders, and should include:
- An overview of your submission
- Contact information on the coversheet provided
- A table of contents
- Sequential numbering of all pages
- Appropriate titling to reflect charter requirements
- Tabs to separate each section
Electronic copies should be organized into multiple folders organized by elements, charter, overview and budget.
The Education code allows Districts 60 days to review a charter after official submission, a deadline that may be extended with a written agreement between the Petitioning team and District Lead. Official charter documents may be delivered to Linda Delgado, Charter Oversight sited at the District Office. Please plan your submission for inclusion on the board agenda prior to the end of the academic school year so that your team has adequate time to plan and prepare should your charter be approved (review the attached time line).
Charter Petitioners have the opportunity to deliver a brief presentation to the board, describing the vision and mission, highlights of the educational approach, explanations of expertise, and a demonstration of community support for the petition. Some Development teams have prepared Powerpoint presentations, and others have used speakers who are well-versed in the petition. You may wish to work with the Charter Coordinator to plan. It is the responsibility of the Charter Petitioners to notify the WCCUSD Charter Coordinator about their plans for the Hearing, with deadlines kept in mind for submission of the précis which provide formal scheduling notice to the school board, district staff and the Superintendent. Again, board meeting dates and deadlines are listed on the district website. It is suggested that you allow 5 days for the drafting of a précis, and more is always best.
After you have submitted your charter and supporting documents, a team comprised of district staff will review and evaluate your submission. Ratings and comments will be collated by the Charter Coordinator, and submitted as a staff recommendation to the board. The board will read the charter documents, the staff recommendation, and evaluate evidence offered during the hearing to make a determination that adheres to the Education Code.
To recount in approximate order:Note: At any time in this process the team may wish to meet and confer with the Charter Coordinator at a mutually convenient time.
- Petitioners draft charter and supporting documents.
- Petitioners submit the charter and supporting documents (Strongly recommend between August and April, prior academic year to proposed opening).
- A hearing is scheduled to take place within 30 days of the submission.
- Public hearing—petitioners may present.
- District staff, Board and Superintendent read and evaluate petition.
- Charter coordinator gathers and collates staff responses, composes a formal recommendation to either grant or deny the petition.
- The board makes a determination and announces it at the regularly scheduled board meeting.