Information for Charter Parents/Guardians

As a charter school student, parent, guardian, or caregiver it is important to know some basics about your rights and the charter's obligations...

Accountability and Performance

To help parents and educators identify strengths and areas for improvement, California reports how districts, schools (including charter schools), and student groups are performing across state and local measures. This data is collected, disaggregated, and displayed for public consumption on the "California School Dashboard" website (you can search through the site by clicking HERE).

In addition, there are a variety of compulsory plans and documents that charter schools must complete/update on an annual basis.  These include the Local Control Accountability Plan (you can find CCCBOE authorized charter LCAPs by clicking HERE) and the School Accountability Report Card (you can search for your charter's SARC on the the CDE website by clicking HERE).

Admissions

Charter schools must follow all non-discrimination laws in their admissions policies and preferences, including but not limited to requirements that "a charter school shall be nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and all other operations, shall not charge tuition, and shall not discriminate against any pupil on the basis of ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or disability." (Education Code section 47607(d)(1))

Therefore, when a student is applying to a charter school, charter schools should not seek any information regarding whether an applicant has ever received special education services, has a disability, or is/was under an Individualized Education Plan; or English Learner Status or Race. This information can only be requested once a student has already secured a seat at the school (i.e. after the admissions lottery and during registration).

Family Giving

Charter schools can encourage and accept donations of time, money, and other services.  However, they are not allowed to mandate or demand this type of giving from members of their community, especially including parents and guardians.  Volunteer hours and fundraising must be strictly voluntary in order for charter schools to comply with the law.

Special Education

As a public school, charters must serve all students who wish to attend.  Charter schools must follow federal laws and regulations related to educating students with disabilities. These laws include the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which requires schools to find and evaluate students who may have disabilities at no cost to families, provide students who qualify with an Individualized Education Program (IEP), allow parents/guardians to participate in the evaluation and IEP process, and compels schools to share regular updates on progress toward student IEP goals with families. Additionally, charters must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act which both protect students with disabilities from discrimination in schools.

Suspensions and Expulsions

Each charter school's charter petition will have a section on suspension and expulsion policies which should detail the steps that must be adhered to when initiating this level of disciplinary action.  This section of the charter will also provide information about the rights and obligations of the student and family including the obligatory notices and timelines.  You can find links to all CCCBOE authorized charter petitions by clicking HERE.

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