Code of the District of Columbia

§ 38–1802.03. Process for approving or denying public charter school petitions.

(a) Schedule. — An eligible chartering authority shall establish a schedule for receiving petitions to establish a public charter school and shall publish any such schedule in the District of Columbia Register and newspapers of general circulation.

(b) Public hearing. — Not later than 45 days after a petition to establish a public charter school is filed with an eligible chartering authority, the eligible chartering authority shall hold a public hearing on the petition to gather the information that is necessary for the eligible chartering authority to make the decision to approve or deny the petition.

(c) Notice. — Not later than 10 days prior to the scheduled date of a public hearing on a petition to establish a public charter school, an eligible chartering authority:

(1) Shall publish a notice of the hearing in the District of Columbia Register and newspapers of general circulation;

(2) Shall send a written notification of the hearing date to the eligible applicant who filed the petition;

(3) Shall send written notification of the hearing date to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission in the area in which the school is located; and

(4) Shall send written notification of the hearing date to the following parties when the petition is to convert an existing public school into a public charter school:

(A) Parents of minor students attending the public school which is the subject of the conversion petition;

(B) Adult students attending the public school which is the subject of the conversion petition;

(C) Employees of the public school which is the subject of the conversion petition; and

(D) Parents of minor students who both attend:

(i) The school grade immediately lower than the first school grade which is served by the public school which is the subject of the conversion petition; and

(ii) A school that is located within the attendance zone of the public school which is the subject of the conversion petition.

(d) Approval. —

(1) In general. — Subject to subsection (i) of this section and paragraph (2) of this subsection an eligible chartering authority shall approve a petition to establish a public charter school, if:

(A) The eligible chartering authority determines that the petition satisfies the requirements of this subchapter;

(B) The eligible applicant who filed the petition agrees to satisfy any condition or requirement, consistent with this subchapter and other applicable law, that is set forth in writing by the eligible chartering authority as an amendment to the petition;

(C) The eligible chartering authority determines that the public charter school has the ability to meet the educational objectives outlined in the petition; and

(D) The approval will not cause the eligible chartering authority to exceed a limit under subsection (i) of this section.

(2) Conditional approval. —

(A) In general. — In the case of a petition that does not contain the identification and information required under § 38-1802.02(6)(B)(i), but does contain the timetable required under § 38-1802.02(6)(B)(ii), an eligible chartering authority may only approve the petition on a conditional basis, subject to the eligible applicant’s submitting the identification and information described in § 38-1802.02(6)(B)(i) in accordance with such timetable, or any other timetable specified in writing by the eligible chartering authority in an amendment to the petition.

(B) Effect of conditional approval. — For purposes of subsections (e), (h), (i), and (j) of this section, a petition conditionally approved under this paragraph shall be treated the same as a petition approved under paragraph (1) of this subsection except that on the date that such a conditionally approved petition ceases to be conditionally approved because the eligible applicant has not timely submitted the identification and information described in § 38-1802.02(6)(B)(i), the approval of the petition shall cease to be counted for purposes of subsection (i) of this section.

(e) Timetable. — An eligible chartering authority shall approve or deny a petition to establish a public charter school not later than 45 days after the conclusion of the public hearing on the petition.

(f) Extension. — An eligible chartering authority and an eligible applicant may agree to extend the 45-day time period referred to in subsection (e) of this section by a period that shall not exceed 30 days.

(g) Denial explanation. — If an eligible chartering authority denies a petition or finds the petition to be incomplete, the eligible chartering authority shall specify in writing the reasons for its decision and indicate, when the eligible chartering authority determines appropriate, how the eligible applicant who filed the petition may revise the petition to satisfy the requirements for approval.

(h) Approved petition. —

(1) Notice. — Not later than 10 days after an eligible chartering authority approves a petition to establish a public charter school, the eligible chartering authority shall provide a written notice of the approval, including a copy of the approved petition and any conditions or requirements agreed to under subsection (d) of this section, to the eligible applicant and to the Chief Financial Officer of the District of Columbia. The eligible chartering authority shall publish a notice of the approval of the petition in the District of Columbia Register and newspapers of general circulation.

(2) Charter. — The provisions described in paragraphs (1), (7), (8), (11), (16), and (18) of § 38-1802.02 of a petition to establish a public charter school that are approved by an eligible chartering authority, together with any amendments to such provisions in the petition containing conditions or requirements agreed to by the eligible applicant under subsection (d) of this section, shall be considered a charter granted to the school by the eligible chartering authority.

(i) Number of petitions. —

(1) First year. — During calendar year 1996, not more than 10 petitions to establish public charter schools may be approved under this subchapter.

(2) Subsequent years. —

(A) In general. —

(i) Annual limit. — Subject to subparagraph (B) of this paragraph and sub-subparagraph (ii) of this subparagraph, during calendar year 1997, and during each subsequent calendar year, each eligible chartering authority shall not approve more than 10 petitions to establish a public charter school under this subchapter.

(ii) Timetable. — Any petition approved under sub-subparagraph (i) of this subparagraph shall be approved during an application approval period that terminates on April 1 of each year. Such an approval period may commence before or after January 1 of the calendar year in which it terminates, except that any petition approved at any time during such an approval period shall count, for purposes of sub-subparagraph (i) of this subparagraph, against the total number of petitions approved during the calendar year in which the approval period terminates.

(B) Exception. — If, by April 1 of any calendar year after 1996, an eligible chartering authority has approved fewer than 10 petitions during such calendar year, any other eligible chartering authority may approve more than 10 petitions during such calendar year, but only if:

(i) The eligible chartering authority completes the approval of any such additional petition before June 1 of the year; and

(ii) The approval of any such additional petition will not cause the total number of petitions approved by all eligible chartering authorities during the calendar year to exceed 20.

(j) Authority of eligible chartering authority. —

(1) In general. — Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, and except for officers or employees of the eligible chartering authority with which a petition to establish a public charter school is filed, no governmental entity, elected official, or employee of the District of Columbia shall make, participate in making, or intervene in the making of, the decision to approve or deny such a petition.

(2) Availability of review. — A decision by an eligible chartering authority to deny a petition to establish a public charter school shall be subject to judicial review by an appropriate court of the District of Columbia or by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. In the case of review by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education shall issue procedures for the submission and review of appeals.


(Apr. 26, 1996, 110 Stat. 1321 237, Pub. L. 104-134, § 2203; Sept. 30, 1996, 110 Stat. 3009 1462, Pub. L. 104-208, § 5205(c); Nov. 19, 1997, 111 Stat. 2190, Pub. L. 105-100, § 167; Oct. 19, 2000, D.C. Law 13-172, § 2503(b), 47 DCR 6308; Nov. 22, 2000, 114 Stat. 2440, Pub. L. 106-522, § 120(c)(2)(B); June 12, 2007, D.C. Law 17-9, § 802(b), 54 DCR 4102.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 31-2853.13.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 38-1802.04, § 38-1802.09, § 38-1802.14, and § 47-392.25.

Effect of Amendments

Section 120 (c)(2)(B) of Public Law 106-522 deleted reference to par. (17) in the enumeration at the beginning of subsec. (h)(2).

D.C. Law 13-172 added subsec. (c) (3) and (4).

D.C. Law 17-9, in subsec. (j)(2), substituted “.of Columbia or by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. In the case of review by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education shall issue procedures for the submission and review of appeals.” for “of Columbia.”

Cross References

Disposition of certain school property, preference for public charter school, see § 47-392.25.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2503(b) of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-438, October 20, 2000, 47 DCR 8740).

For temporary (90 day) repeal of section 804 of D.C. Law 17-9, see § 4043(b) of Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-74, July 25, 2007, 54 DCR 7549).

Editor's Notes

Applicability: Section 804 of D.C. Law 17-9 provided that section 802 shall apply upon enactment by Congress. Section 804 of D.C. Law 17-9 was repealed by section 4043(b) of D.C. Law 17-20.