We filed the petition! Confetti! Parade! So now what happens? Well, we wait.
State law encourages new charter schools, and provides a process and standard of review for charter petitions, including an appeal to the County Office of Education in those instances where a good charter is wrongfully denied for improper or political reasons. Although we’d like to be approved directly by NVUSD, it’s possible that Mayacamas may end up with the County Office as our authorizing agency.
We filed our petition with NVUSD, which now has 90 days to approve or deny it. During these 90 days, we can expect a few things:
Within 60 days, we will have an opportunity to give a public presentation introducing Mayacamas to the NVUSD board, and we invite members of the public to join us and speak at the hearing.
Within 90 days, the District board is required to vote to approve or deny the petition. This will provide another opportunity for members of the public to attend and show support for Mayacamas.
The Charter Schools Act sets forth specific criteria by which the District legally must evaluate our petition; we have worked very closely with charter school experts to ensure our petition is thorough and sound, and meets or exceeds all legal requirements. The default standard under the law is that the district “shall approve” the charter unless the board can adopt factual findings that support denial. Our petition makes a legitimate denial very difficult.
If NVUSD denies the charter, we will immediately appeal to the more neutral Napa County Board of Education. That process takes another 90 days, whereby the County Board will independently review our petition with fresh eyes, and act on the merits. When approved, we will then be authorized directly by the County, with no further involvement with NVUSD.
Given the fact that the District is consolidating schools and has voiced budget challenges and declining enrollment as significant concerns, we believe the District may deny the petition simply to avoid competing for enrollment with an independent public school like Mayacamas. Therefore, it is extremely important that we, as an informed group of engaged parents and members of the community, demonstrate to NVUSD that Mayacamas is an important matter to a large and diverse swath of our community—not just a pet project for a few individuals. Please consider speaking at an upcoming NVUSD Board meeting, and writing to the NVUSD Board Members and the Superintendent, and the NCOE Board Members and Superintendent. And please send letters to the editor supporting Mayacamas. It is only with strong community support that we will get the charter approved and school opened for the Fall of 2022.
What happens if NVUSD approves our charter? We have a plan in place to initiate everything we need to do so that we can open our doors in August 2022!
What happens if NVUSD denies our charter? While we believe they have no legitimate basis to deny our charter, they might still choose to do so. If NVUSD denies the charter, we will immediately appeal to the more neutral Napa County Board of Education. That process takes another 90 days, whereby the County Board will independently review our petition with fresh eyes, and act on the merits. When approved, we will then be authorized directly by the County, with no further involvement with NVUSD. And we have a plan in place to initiate everything we need to do so that we can open our doors in August 2022 as a County charter!
We are hopeful and optimistic that with plenty of community support, we will be able to convince either NVUSD or NCOE that Mayacamas Charter Middle School is a necessary component to the Napa Community's Public Education System. We would appreciate your assistance in securing the best possible public education for all our Valley's kids!