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Charter School Authorizing and Monitoring


What is a Charter School?

A charter school is a public school that operates outside of the traditional school district setting under a unique set of state regulations outlined in the Charter Schools Act of 1992 ( Senate Bill 1448). This act made California the second state in the nation to create charter schools as an alternative to traditional public schools. The purpose of this legislation was to "provide opportunities for teachers, parents, pupils, and community members to establish and maintain schools that operate independently from the existing school district structure." Since then, a number of California laws have been passed to further define charter schools and identify specific accountability measures to ensure that pupils receive a high quality education regardless of whether or not they attend a public school or a charter school. 

Charter Schools Operating IN vista Unified School District

Vista Unified is committed to working in a collaborative partnership with charter schools to ensure that students and parents have choices among a growing set of instructional program options in the district.

This webpage will serve as the hub for providing parents, students, and charter school petitioners a like specific information about the current charter schools operating within the Vista Unified School District, the process for submitting petitions for opening a charter school, the oversight and monitoring process for existing charter schools, and the renewal process for charter petitions. Vista Unified's highest prioritydv1940061.jpg is to ensure that all students have access to a high quality learning environment and are able to make consistent growth toward obtaining the requisite skills, knowledge and understanding to be college and career ready upon graduating from high school. Vista Unified not only sets this priority for district schools, but requires high quality learning environments of each of the charter schools. 

Vista Unified currently serves as the chartering agency for four charter schools. Each charter school offers a unique instructional program focusing on a specific student population. Below you will find a brief summary of each charter school operating within Vista Unified. 


Bella Mente Montessori School 

Bella Mente Montessori Academy offers a Montessori education for students grades TK-8. 

Guajome Learning Centers (GLC)  and Guajome Park Academy (GPA) 

Guajome Schools is a public charter school of choice with approximately 1,500 students in Grades K-12.  Guajome Schools offers a variety of different programs including the K-5 Guajome Park Primary Academy (GPPA), Guajome Park Academy (GPA) which includes grades 6-8 Middle School and grades 9-12 High School and Guajome Learning Centers (GLC), an alternative independent study program for grades K-12. 


School for Integrated Academics and Technologies (SIATech®) is a WASC-accredited public charter high school that operates in partnership with the Workforce Investment Act and the federal Job Corps programs. SIATech is a dropout recovery high school which helps low-income, previously out-of-school youth get back on-track to graduation.  

North County TradeTech High School

Trade Tech focuses on preparation for professions in the construction and engineering industry, including engineering design, architecture and green building technologies. 

Vista Unified As the Chartering Agency

The Vista Unified School District serves as the Chartering Agency for any charter school operating under a charter authorized by the Vista Unified School District. The primary purpose of the Chartering Agency is to review potential charter school petitions and either grant or deny the charter based on a specific set of criteria. To this end, Vista Unified must follow strict accountability procedures established by Assembly Bill 1137, and later codified into Education Codes 47604.32 and 47604.33. The legal requirements of the school district serving as Chartering Agency are outlined in School Board Policy 0420.4. The specific processes Vista Unified follows to fulfill its obligation as Chartering Agency are outlined in the Administrative Regulation 0420.4


Vista Unified is a member of the National Association of Charter School Administrators (NACSA). As a member, Vista Unified is aligned to the Principles and Standards NACSA has identified to ensure quality authorizing and oversight. These principles and standards will lead to high quality learning environments that prepare all students for success in college and career. 


Core Principles of Charter Authorizing

  1. Maintain high standards for schools
  2. Uphold school autonomy
  3. Protect student and public interest

Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing

  1. Agency Commitment and Capacity
  2. Application Process and Decision Making
  3. Performance Contracting
  4. Ongoing Oversight and Evaluation
  5. Revocation and Renewal Decisions

Charter School Lead

Matthew J. Doyle, Ed.D.

Assistant Superintendent

Vista Unified School District

LCFF and LCAP Information

The new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) state regulations are in effect for all school districts and charter schools starting in the 2013-14 school year. Each school district and charter school is required to put into place an LCAP development process that places a high degree of parent and community involvement setting the goals, action steps, and funding allocation based on student needs, with emphasis on low income students, foster youth, and English learners. The development of the district or charter school budget must be tied to the specific action steps identified in the LCAP. 


The California State Board of Education completed the permanent regulations on November 14, 2014. All school districts and charter schools need to review the progress on goals and the services identified in their LCAP annually and make revisions based on input form all stakeholder groups. Charter schools may modify the LCAP template to meet the grade levels services, the nature of the program, and the statutory requirements of charter schools (Ed. Code 47605, 47605.5, and 47606.5).   For more information about the LCAP and LCFF legislation and the requirements, click on the links below: 


  1. LCFF Information
  2. LCAP Information
  3. LCFF and LCAP Permanent Regulations
  4. California Department of Education LCFF webpage
  5. Charter School Frequently Asked Questions for LCFF and LCAP 
  6. LCAP Design for English Learners 
  7. West Ed Guide for Developing the LCAP

LCAP Review Manual

The California County Superintendents Educational Service Association (CCSESA) has developed a procedural manual for the review and approval of each district Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). Along with the procedural manual, CCSESA has also published an LCAP/Budget Approval Nexus flowchart that outlines the approval process. The approval process includes a careful examination of three criteria

The Three Criteria for Approval:

1. Adherence to SBE Template

2. Sufficient Expenditures in Budget to Implement LCAP

3. Adherence to SBE Expenditure Regulations

VUSD Charter School Board Policy 0420.4

Vista Unified has developed a Board Policy for Charter Schools that is in alignment with state and federal regulations. Click HERE to review the Board Policy 0420.4. 

VUSD Charter School Administrative Regulation 0420.4

Vista Unified has developed additional administrative regulations to accompany the board policy in order to provide specific information related to procedures and protocols for charter petition submission, monitoring, revocation, and renewal. Click HERE to review the charter school Administrative Regulation 0420.4.

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 16 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 
  2. Petition Key Contact List

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 sixteen elements identified in Education Code 47605 and the California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 11967.5.1. 

Charter School Petition Review Process

Sixteen Elements Required in Charter School Petitions 

  1. Description of Education Program
  2. Measurable Student Outcomes
  3. Methods for Measuring Student Progress
  4. Governance Structure
  5. Employee Qualifications
  6. Health and Safety Procedures
  7. Racial and Ethnic Balance
  8. Admission Requirements (if applicable)
  9. Annual Independent Financial Audits
  10. Suspension and Expulsion Procedures
  11. STRS, PERS, and Social Security Coverage
  12. Public School Attendance Alternatives
  13. Post-Employment Rights of Employees
  14. Dispute Resolution Procedures
  15. Exclusive Public School Employer
  16. Closure Procedures

Charter School Petition Renewal Process

All charter school petition renewals are treated as a new charter petition. As a result, the charter petition renewal process follows the same process as the new application. 

Charter School Program Monitoring

In accordance with Education Code sections 47604.32 and 47604.33 and Vista Unified School District Administrative Regulation 0420.4, Vista Unified is required to monitor the efficacy of each charter school during the course of each school year. The purpose of this monitoring process is to ensure adherence to Education Code requirements, the implementation of the charter petition, and accompanying agreements such as memoranda of understanding (MOU).


The Vista Unified charter monitoring procedure is comprised of three components: 1. bi-monthly charter school network meetings, 2. charter school reporting, and 3. completion of the Charter School Oversight Checklist. Charter schools are required to submit periodic reports to track the implementation of the program and adherence to budget and accounting requirements. Please find below a brief list of the statutory requirements for reporting to the Chartering Agency. For detailed information regarding the reporting requirements, please refer to the VUSD Charter School Monitoring Checklist. 


Charter School Reporting Requirements (Ed. Code 47604.33)

  1. Preliminary Budget Report
  2. First Interim Financial Report 
  3. Second Interim Financial Report 
  4. Final Unaudited Financial Report
  5. Independent Financial Audit Report
  6. Student Achievement Report 

During the monitoring process, the charter school lead administrator for Vista Unified will utilize the VUSD Charter School Oversight Checklist as a tool to ensure consistent, objective monitoring criteria is followed for each charter school. This checklist will serve as the basis for the Charter School Annual Report to the Vista Unified School Board. The checklist is organized into eight sections identified below. 


VUSD Charter School Oversight Checklist

  1. Executive Summary (pp. 1-7)
  2. Statutory Assurances (p. 8)
  3. Financial Reporting (pp. 9-14)
  4. Governance (pp. 14-16)
  5. Personnel (pp. 16-19)
  6. Operations Management  (pp. 19-20)
  7. Educational Program (pp. 20-25)
  8. Facilities (pp. 25-26) 


All charter schools will participate in a three phase monitoring process during the course of the school year. The Oversight Checklist will be completed during these phases. To support charter schools to prepare for this process, we have developed a Charter School Monitoring Tool Kit. This tool kit includes a Monitoring Schedule, a Monitoring Overview for details related to when each section of the Oversight Checklist will be implemented, and a Guide to the Charter School Oversight Checklist that identifies the district lead for each section of the Oversight Checklist and provides specific detailed about the documentation required during the monitoring process.


Charter School Monitoring Tool Kit


Charter School Monitoring Schedule 2016-17

Charter Network Meeting Dates and Resources

In an effort to fulfill the district's obligation to provide technical assistance and oversight for all charter schools approved by Vista Unified, we will be hosting periodic Charter School Network meetings during the school year. These meetings will provide a venue for charter school leaders to highlight bright spots about their charter school,  discuss the implementation of their charter program, and participate in program monitoring related to the charter petition, fiscal oversight, and support for student with special needs. 


Charter Renewal Timeline

BMMA: 2018

SIATech: 2019

GPA: 2020

GLC: 2021

TradeTech: 2022


2018-19 School Year


Meeting #1 - September 24, 2018

Meeting #2 - November 26, 2018


Meeting #3 - February 11, 2019




2017-18 Archive


Meeting #1 - September 28, 2017


Meeting #2 - November 27, 2017


Meeting #3 - February 12, 2018


Meeting #4 - April 16, 2018


Meeting #5 - June 4, 2018


Meeting #1 - September 26, 2016


Meeting #2 - November 29, 2016


Meeting #3 - February 21, 2017


Meeting #4 - April 10, 2017


Meeting #5 - June 5, 2016


Meeting #1 - September 14, 2015

Meeting #2 - November 9, 2015

Meeting #3 - February 8, 2016

Meeting #4 - April 11, 2016

Meeting # 5 - June 6, 2016


2014-15 Meeting Archive

Meeting #1 - September 8, 2014

Meeting #2 - November 3, 2014


Meeting #3 - February 9, 2015

Meeting #4 - April 13, 2014


Meeting #5 - June 8, 2014