Jason Jones, Ed.D.
Aeries, CALPADS, and Charter Oversight Director (ext. 2394)
New Petitioner Process
NJESD Board Policy: Charter School Authorization
Philosophy, Goals, Objectives and Comprehensive Plans
The Governing Board recognizes that charter schools may assist the district in offering diverse learning opportunities for district students. In considering any petition to establish a charter school within the district, the Board shall give careful consideration to the potential of the charter school to provide students with a high-quality education that enables them to achieve to their fullest potential.
All charter petitions must comply with state law. To the extent state law is amended and conflicts with this policy, state law prevails.
One or more persons may submit a petition for a start-up charter school to be established within the district. In addition, an existing district school may be converted to a charter school when deemed beneficial by the district and community or when state or federal law requires restructuring of the school because of low performance
Any petition for a start-up charter school or conversion charter school shall include all components and signatures required by law and shall be submitted to the Board. Upon receiving a charter petition, the district shall review the charter petition to ensure compliance with state law, and district policies and regulations.
The charter school must use the district’s signature template when collecting the required signatures. In addition, any petition must include the materials required by the State Board of Education (“SBE”) criteria (“SBE Criteria”) for charter petition review, the materials requested in the New Jerusalem Elementary School District Charter School Petition Application Guide (the “Petition Packet”), and the materials listed below:
1. Budget and cash flow projections, including start-up costs, three-year operational budget and three years of projected cash flow statements;
2. A proposed or existing facilities plan, including any proposed lease, and in the case of proposed out-of-district charter schools, evidence that the charter school has attempted to locate within the district and could not locate facilities;
3. The potential impact on the authorizer;
4. An agreement or draft agreement for administrative services, if applicable;
5. List of anticipated educational, administrative, and financial services vendors and service providers during first year of operation;
6. Information regarding the members of the charter school’s governing board, leadership team, and related entities, including a list of all schools and charter school management organizations (“CMO”) with which the individuals and entities have been associated;
7. If the charter school will be operated by a CMO, the CMO’s:
8. Articles of incorporation and bylaws, and schedule of governing board meetings,
9. Any other documents related to the financial welfare of the charter school or providing further information regarding the proposed operations.
The District may require submission of additional materials which it deems relevant to a comprehensive review of the charter petition, including materials regarding affiliated charter schools or other entities, the CMO, any third party vendors, and any individuals affiliated with these entities. The charter petition will not be considered submitted until all required components and materials are submitted. Following charter petition submittal, the District may require additional materials it deems relevant to charter petition review.
The charter school petition shall be submitted in accordance with the Target Windows for Petition Submission outlined in the Petition Packet.
The Superintendent or designee may work with charter school petitioners prior to the formal submission of the petition in order to ensure compliance of the petition with legal requirements. As needed, he/she also may meet with the petitioners to establish workable plans for technical assistance or contracted services which the district may provide to the proposed charter school.
The Board shall evaluate the petition in accordance with the SBE Criteria, its own policies and procedures, and state law. Petitions must include all requirements in state law at the time of approval.
Timelines for Board Action
Within 30 days of receiving a petition to establish a charter school, the Board shall hold a public hearing to determine the level of support for the petition by teachers, other employees of the district, and parents/guardians.
If the petitioner proposes an out-of-district charter school, the Board shall notify the charter school’s proposed host school district 30 days in advance of the board meeting where authorization of the out-of-district charter school will be determined.
Within 60 days of receiving a petition, or within 90 days with mutual consent of the petitioners and the Board, the Board shall either approve or deny the request to establish the charter school. The district shall present documentation of its evaluation of the charter school petition to its Board.
The approval or denial of a charter petition shall not be controlled by collective bargaining agreements nor subject to review or regulation by the Public Employment Relations Board.
Approval of Petition
The Board shall approve the charter petition if doing so is consistent with sound educational practice, unless a basis for denial exists pursuant law as described below. In granting charters, the Board shall give preference to schools best able to provide comprehensive learning experiences for academically low-achieving students according to standards established by the California Department of Education (CDE) under Education Code 54032.
The Board may initially grant a charter for a specified term not to exceed five year.
The Board shall ensure that any approved charter contains adequate processes and measures for holding the school accountable for fulfilling the terms of its charter. These shall include, but not be limited to, fiscal accountability systems, multiple measures for evaluating the educational program, including student outcomes aligned with state priorities as described in Education Code 52060, and regular reports to the Board. The Board shall provide oversight of approved charter schools pursuant to state law, the district’s policies and regulations, and the charter school petition and oversight memorandum of understanding.
The district shall not require any district student to attend the charter school nor shall it require any district employee to work at the charter school.
The district, charter school, and CMO, if applicable, shall enter into one or more memoranda of understanding to clarify the financial, operational, and academic oversight agreements between the district and the charter school. The district and charter school may also enter into one or more agreements regarding the provision of administrative services, special education services, or other services. Any such memorandum of understanding shall be annually reviewed by the Board and charter school governing body and amended as necessary.
It shall be the responsibility of the petitioners to provide written notice of the Board's approval and a copy of the charter to the County Superintendent of Schools, the CDE, and the SBE.
Conditions of Approval
Approval of charter petitions shall be conditioned for the purposes of: 1) ensuring the new charter school meets the requirements of state law, its charter petition, and district policies and regulations prior to opening, and is likely to successfully implement its program, and 2) clarifying the relationship between the district and charter school, and ensuring compliance with district oversight. Conditions shall include the standard conditions including acceptance of the district’s oversight memorandum of understanding clarifying the financial, operational, and academic oversight, and as otherwise approved by the Board. The Superintendent or designee determines whether the charter school has complied with the conditions. If any deadline specified in the conditions is not met, approval of the charter is terminated unless the Board deletes or extends the deadline not met.
Denial of Petition
The Board shall deny any petition to authorize the conversion of a private school to a charter school or that proposes to serve students in a grade level that is not served by the district, unless the petition proposes to serve students in all the grade levels served by the district.
Any other charter petition shall be denied only if the Board presents written factual findings specific to the petition that one or more of the following conditions exist:
The charter school presents an unsound educational program for the students to be enrolled in the charter school.
The petitioners are demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the program set forth in the petition.
The petition does not contain the number of signatures required.
The petition must be:
Signed by a number of parents or legal guardians of pupils that is equivalent to at least one-half of the number of pupils that the charter school estimates will enroll in the school for its first year of operation, or
Signed by a number of teachers that is equivalent to at least one-half of the number of teachers that the charter school estimates will be employed at the school during its first year of operation.
A petition that proposes to convert an existing public school to a charter school that would not be eligible for a loan may be circulated by one or more persons seeking to establish the charter school. The petition may be submitted to the governing board of the school district for review after the petition is signed by not less than 50 percent of the permanent status teachers currently employed at the public school to be converted.
A petition shall include a prominent statement that a signature on the petition means that the parent or legal guardian is meaningfully interested in having his or her child or ward attend the charter school, or in the case of a teacher’s signature, means that the teacher is meaningfully interested in teaching at the charter school. The proposed charter shall be attached to the petition.
The petition does not contain an affirmation of each of the conditions described in Education Code 47605(d).
The petition does not contain reasonably comprehensive descriptions of the charter provisions in Education Code 47605(b).
The petition does not contain a declaration as to whether or not the charter school shall be deemed the exclusive public school employer of the school's employees for purposes of collective bargaining pursuant to Government Code 3540-3549.3.
The Board shall not deny a petition based on the actual or potential costs of serving students with disabilities, nor shall it deny a petition solely because the charter school might enroll disabled students who reside outside the special education local plan area in which the district participates.
If the Board denies a petition, the petitioners may choose to submit the petition to the County Board of Education and, if then denied by the County Board, to the SBE.
Lastly, the district shall amend its charter review policies and practices in accordance with Department of Education guidance and any/all changes in Education Code and relevant legislation.
Independent Study Based Petition
Any new petitioner who wishes to request authorization to open an independent study-based charter school will be required to meet with the district about the availability of facilities within the district, including a Resource Center location. If facilities are not able to be located within the district and a Resource Center must be secured outside of the district boundaries, the petitioner must locate and secure a location outside of the district boundaries. In the case where a Resource Center is to be secured outside of the district boundaries and within the district's county, prior to submitting a petition to NJESD, the petitioner must notify the school district where the proposed charter school Resource Center is to be located. The petitioner must also notify the San Joaquin County Office of Education.
Any new petition that exhausts the aforementioned must provide a letter from the property owner of the proposed school site that specifies at the very least the following:
Lease agreement for the term of the proposed charter school;
All zoning codes correspond with the City's school occupancy codes; and,
All health and safety inspections have been signed off by appropriate city and/or county departments and personnel.
Any new petitioner who wishes to request authorization to open a site-based charter school will be required to meet with the district about the availability of facilities within the district. If facilities are not able to be located within the district and a school site must be secured outside of the district boundaries, the petitioner must locate and secure a site outside of the district boundaries. In the case where a school location is outside of the district boundaries, prior to submitting a petition to NJESD, the petitioner must seek authorization from the school district where the proposed charter school is to be located.