Charter Schools

In 1992, California became the second state in the nation to adopt public charter school legislation. A charter school is a public school that may provide instruction in any combination of grades (kindergarten through grade twelve). Parents, teachers, or community members may initiate a charter petition, which is typically presented to and approved by a local school district governing board, although the law also grants chartering authority to county boards of education, such as the appeal of a petition’s denial by a school district governing board or the direct approval of countywide benefit charter schools.

The specific goals and operating procedures for a charter school are detailed in the agreement (also referred to as the charter, petition, or charter petition) between the authorizing entity and the school’s organizers. Charter status frees the school from many of the state statutes and regulations that apply to school districts. Pursuant to California Education Code (EC) Section 47601, it is the intent of the California Legislature under state law that charter schools operate independently from the existing school district structure as a method to accomplish all of the following:

  • Improve pupil learning.
  • Increase learning opportunities for all pupils, with special emphasis on expanded learning experiences for pupils who are identified as academically low achieving.
  • Encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods.
  • Create new professional opportunities for teachers, including the opportunity to be responsible for the learning program at the schoolsite.
  • Provide parents and pupils with expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities that are available within the public school system.
  • Hold the schools established under this part accountable for meeting measurable pupil outcomes, and provide the schools with a method to change from rule-based to performance-based accountability systems.
  • Provide vigorous competition within the public school system to stimulate continual improvements in all public schools.

Charter schools are subject to the following conditions:

  • An existing private school may not be converted to a charter school (EC Section 47602[b])
  • A charter school must be nonsectarian (EC Section 47605[e][1])
  • A charter school may not discriminate, nor can it charge tuition (EC Section 47605[e][1])
  • No pupil can be required to attend a charter school, nor can teachers be required to work in a charter school (EC sections 47605[g] and 47605[f])
  • A charter school must have highly credentialed teachers in all core subjects; teachers in charter schools shall hold a Commission on Teacher Credentialing certificate, permit, or other document equivalent to that which a teacher in other public schools would be required to hold (EC Section 47605[l])
  • Charter schools must admit all students who wish to attend the school; however, if the number of students exceeds the school's capacity, attendance shall be determined by a public random drawing. Certain attendance preferences are available under state law (EC Section 47605[e][2])

CONTACTS

Title / Responsibility Name (click to email) Phone
Coordinator, Charter School Oversight Neil McChesney (925) 942-3381
Credentials Kandi Gravenmier (925) 942-3302
Attendance Reporting Rita Bailey (925) 942-3449
Program Accountant Heidi Andrews (925) 942-3402
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