Charter schools are independent public schools which are generally exempt from Education Code provisions governing school districts. There is no cost to attend a charter school and they are open to all students. Like traditional public schools, charters receive state funding based on a formula for each child enrolled in the school. It is the intent of the Legislature to provide opportunities for teachers, parents, pupils, and community members to establish and maintain schools that operate independently from the existing school district structure. (Ed. Code 47601.)

Petitioning to Establish a Charter School

Parents, teachers, or community members may initiate a petition to establish a charter school, which must be authorized by a local school district, or a county office of education, or the State Board of Education. The charter is a contract detailing the charter school's mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment, and ways to measure success. The law grants chartering authority to county boards of education and the State Board of Education under certain circumstances, such as the appeal of a petition’s denial by a school district governing board or the direct approval of countywide benefit or statewide benefit charter schools.

The San Mateo County Board of Education is committed to treating all charter petitions fairly and in accordance with the law. The Board cannot approve or deny a charter petition based on its philosophical belief about charter schools, any perceptions about how well the school district is meeting the needs of its students, the potential impact a charter school would have on the other educational programs of the district or the district's facilities, or whether the charter school will negatively affect school funding, etc. Each charter petition submitted to the Board will be approved or denied based upon the criteria set forth in the law and the Board's regulations.

Petition Submission Process

A charter petitioner wishing to apply to the County Board of Education after having a charter petition denied by a San Mateo County school district must submit the following documents not later than 180 calendar days after the district's denial:

  • Charter Petition: Petitioners are reminded they may not modify the petition as it was submitted to the local school district, except as necessary to reflect the County Board as the chartering entity.
  • Charter Petition Requirement Checklist: Petitioners shall review their chart3er and indicate the page number(s) for each item.

We recommend petitioners review the San Mateo County Board of Education Charter School Petition Handbook.

Under normal circumstances, the San Mateo County Board of Education will hold a public hearing on the provisions of the charter within 30 calendar days of receipt of the complete charter petition application and will approve or deny the charter within 60 calendar days. While a charter school petition may be submitted at any time during the 180 calendar day timeline, applicants are encouraged to submit petitions on a date that is two to four weeks prior to a regularly scheduled County Board meeting.

Legal Reference: Education Code 47605 et seq. Establishment of Charter Schools

Current Charter Petitions (Pending Review)

There are no current charter school petitions pending review.

Authorized Charter Schools

Mefula Fairley

Senior Administrator, Board/Superintendent Support and Community Relations

Email: mfairley@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 802-5553

Jennifer Perna

Executive Assistant to the Board

Email: jperna@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 802-5552