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Charter School Application and Renewal Process


The charter school petition process is rigorous. Charter authorizers have a legal and ethical obligation to the citizens of California to ensure that charter petitions are granted only after demonstrating that the proposed school will be likely to succeed academically, financially, and organizationally. To this end, Vista Unified follows the four essential elements (developed by NACSA) for a quality petition and decision making process.

NACSA's Four Essential Elements for Quality Charter School Authorizing

  1. Proposal information, questions, and guidance
  2. Fair, transparent, quality-focused procedures
  3. Rigorous approval criteria
  4. Rigorous decision making

The Charter School Act and Education Code 47605 require charter school petitions to include detailed descriptions of 15 elements related to the proposed school's operations. Each of these elements is reviewed and evaluated using a rubric with criteria developed based on standards and evidence from exemplary charter schools. The charter school petition review timeline identifies the specific steps needed to develop, submit, and review a charter petition. In order to ensure high quality educational environments for students and exemplary student achievement, all charter petitions will be required to demonstrate compliance with rigorous approval criteria.

Vista Unified Charter Petition Review Criteria
  • Clear Compelling Vision
  • Strong Educational Program
  • Solid Business Plan
  • Effective Governance and Management Structures and Systems
  • Founding Team Members Demonstrate Diversity and Capabilities
  • Clear Capacity to Execute Plan

In order for a charter school petition to be considered, applicants must complete all of the elements of the Charter School Petition Packet.

Charter School Petition Packet
  1. Charter Petition, including all Appendices/Exhibits 
  2. Petition Key Contact List
  3. Certification of Completeness

When submitting your charter petition include one (1) copy in a three ring binder and one (1) electronic file saved in PDF format. Please submit your charter petition to Vista Unified School District, Attn: Erik Korporaal.

The Charter School Petition review process includes a comprehensive review of the elements necessary to ensure sound educational practice identified in Education Code 47605. A detailed overview the required elements can be found in the VUSD Administrative Regulation 0420.4.Specifically, all charter school petitions must include reasonably comprehensive evidence of the fifteen elements identified in Education Code 47605 and the California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 11967.5.1.

Charter School Petition Review Process

Fifteen Elements Required in Charter School Petitions

  1. Description of Educational Program
  2. Measurable Student Outcomes
  3. Methods for Measuring Student Progress
  4. Governance Structure
  5. Employee Qualifications
  6. Health and Safety Procedures
  7. Balance of Students from Different Subgroups
  8. Admission & Lottery Procedures 
  9. Annual Independent Financial Audits
  10. Student Discipline Procedures
  11. Retirement Systems
  12. Public School Attendance Alternatives
  13. Post-Employment Rights of Employees
  14. Dispute Resolution Procedures
  15. Closure Procedures

Charter School Petition Renewal Process

All charter school petition renewals are treated as a new charter petition, except that review of renewal petitions includes an analysis of the charter school's academic performance during its most recent charter term.  As a result, the charter petition renewal process follows the same process as the new application, with the additional requirement for a renewal analysis to be based on academic performance data.