Contents of a Parent Empowerment PetitionCalifornia Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR) Section 4801 specifically addresses petition signatures for a Parent Empowerment petition.
Only one parent or legal guardian per pupil may sign a petition once for each of his or her pupils attending the Subject School, or once for each of his or her pupils attending the Subject School and the elementary or middle schools that normally matriculate into the Subject School elementary, middle, or high school. The parent or legal guardian must sign a separate petition signature box for each of his or her individual pupil(s).
A petition may be circulated and presented in sections, so long as each section complies with the requirements regarding the content of the petition.
A petition that requests that the Subject School be reopened under a specific charter school operator, charter management organization (CMO) or education management organization (EMO) must clearly state that information on the front page of the petition and must include the contact information of the charter school operator, CMO or EMO. Additionally the proposed charter for the school may be circulated with the petition.
Signatures on a Parent Empowerment petition must be of parents or legal guardians of pupils attending the Subject School, or must be a combination of signatures of parents and legal guardians of pupils attending the Subject School and the matriculating schools.
Signature gatherers may not offer gifts, rewards, or tangible incentives to parents or legal guardians to sign a petition and may not make any threats of coercive action, false statements or false promises of benefits to parents or legal guardians in order to persuade them to sign a petition.
Signature gatherers must disclose if they are being paid, and may not be paid per signature.
All parties involved in the signature gathering process will adhere to all school site hours of operation, school and Local Educational Agency (LEA) safety policies, and visitor sign-in procedures.
A Parent Empowerment petition must contain all of the following elements as stipulated in 5 CCR Section 4802:
- A heading which states that it is a Petition of Parents, Legal Guardians, and Persons Holding the Right to Make Educational Decisions for Pupils, Including Foster Parents who hold rights to make educational decisions to request an Intervention be implemented at the specified Subject School and to be submitted to a specified LEA.
- A statement that the petition seeks the signatures of the parents or legal guardians of the pupils attending the Subject School or, in the alternative, the signatures of the parents or legal guardians of the pupils attending the Subject School and the signatures of the parents or legal guardians of the pupils attending elementary or middle schools who would normally matriculate into the Subject School.
- The name and public contact information of the person to be contacted by either persons interested in the petition or by the LEA.
- Identification of the requested intervention: turnaround, restart, school closure, transformation, or the alternative governance arrangement.
- A description of the requested intervention using the language set forth in either sections 4803, 4804, 4805, 4806, or 4807 of 5 CCR, without omission to ensure full disclosure of the impact of the intervention.
- The name of the Subject School.
- Consecutively numbered signature boxes, beginning with number 1, with sufficient space for the signature of each petition signer as well as his or her printed name, date, pupil's name, the pupil's date of birth, the name of the school the pupil is currently attending, and the pupil's current grade.
- An affirmation that the signing parent or legal guardian is requesting the LEA to implement the identified intervention at the Subject School.
Note: A request to an LEA to implement the restart model may also request that the subject school be reopened under a specific charter school operator, charter management organization (CMO) or education management organization (EMO). If so, that information must be clearly stated on the front page of the petition including contact information of the charter school operator, CMO or EMO.
- The names of any agencies or organizations that are supporting the petition, either through direct financial assistance or in-kind contributions of staff and volunteer support, must be prominently displayed on the front page of the petition.
The signature boxes described above in bullet 7 may also have space for the signer's address, city or unincorporated community name, and zip code, or request other information. If so, the petition shall make clear that providing such information is voluntary, and is not a condition of signing the petition.
Section 4802.1(a) of 5 CCR stipulates that an LEA must provide information pertinent to the circulation of a Parent Empowerment petition to anyone who requests it. Such information includes, but is not limited to, the patterns of normal matriculation, enrollment data, and the number of signatures that would be required for a successful petition.
Petitioners may not submit a petition until they reach or exceed the 50 percent threshold of enrollment based on accurate and current enrollment data provided by the LEA. The date of submission of the petition to the LEA is considered the start date for implementation of all statutory and regulatory requirements.
When the petition is submitted to the LEA the petitioners must also submit a separate document that identifies at least one, but no more than five, lead petitioners with their contact information. The role of lead petitioners is to assist and facilitate communication between the parents who have signed the petition and the LEA. The lead petitioner contacts are not authorized to make decisions for the petitioners or negotiate on behalf of the parents.
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) and the State Board of Education (SBE) will be notified by the LEA in writing within 15 calendar days of its receipt of a petition.
The lead petitioner(s) are provided 60 calendar days to assist the LEA in verifying the signatures. A number of methods may be used including, but not limited to, an official notarization process or having the parent or guardian appear at the school or district office.
If there is a discrepancy or problem with a submitted petition, the lead petitioner(s) will be notified in writing by the LEA, and request assistance and clarification prior to announcing the action that will be taken by the LEA to implement the requested intervention of the petition.
Resubmitting a Petition
If a petition is returned due to insufficient or unverifiable signatures, the same petition may be resubmitted to the LEA with verified signatures as long as no substantive changes are made to the petition.
The petitioners are provided one resubmission opportunity which must be completed within 60 calendar days after the return of the petition. This is the same window for verification of signatures and any corrections or additional signatures submitted.
After a petition is resubmitted the LEA will have 25 calendar days to verify the resubmitted signatures, additional signatures or corrections to the petition. The resubmitted petition may not contain substantive changes or amendments.
If substantive changes are made to the petition, it must be re-circulated for signatures before it may be submitted to the LEA and it will be considered to be a new petition.