Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

Instructions for Preparing a Waiver Request

Guidelines and instructions for preparing a waiver request for Alternative Schools and Programs of Choice.


California Education Code (EC) Section 58509 grants to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) the authority, upon a school district's application, to waive any provisions of the EC other than those relating to earthquake safety, the provisions of Article 5, regarding alternative schools of choice, commencing at EC Section 58500, and EC Section 51747.3. The SSPI may be expected to approve requests which facilitate achievement of the goals and objectives of an alternative school or program of choice provided that the waiver is not viewed as detrimental to the regular school program. Alternative school of choice is defined in EC Section 58500.

Waiver Request Form

Use the Alternative School of Choice Waiver Request (DOC) and address only one issue with each form. Email completed request(s) to

Note: When requesting an Alternative School of Choice Waiver, you are addressing the SSPI, not the State Board of Education.

If the waiver is for the independent study pupil-to-teacher ratio, it is important to carefully review Policy #01-03: Independent Study: Average Daily Attendance-to-Teacher Ratio April 2001 before preparing the waiver. This State Board of Education policy should guide your request.

  1. In Part I, Legal Criteria, Item 1, enter the number of the EC section for which a waiver is requested. Complete Items 2–5 as specified for a General Waiver Request.
  2. In Part II, Purpose and Desired Outcomes, consider the following items:
    • Identify and summarize the specific statement or sentence in the EC or California Code of Regulations, Title 5, for which the waiver is requested.
    • Provide a statement of the rationale and desired outcome of the waiver, emphasizing benefits for students, which includes:
      • The scope, district-wide, school-wide, or only for a specific program
      • The names of the schools that are expected to be involved or affected, with a contact name and phone number for each school
      • The estimated proportion of the total district or school enrollment that will benefit from the waiver
      • The expected negative consequence(s) of non-approval
    • Provide a description of the method(s) of annual evaluation that will be conducted pursuant to EC Section 58510. Give careful attention to reporting student performance data in the context of the district's plan regarding standards, assessments, and accountability.
    • Explain how you know that the school or program of choice is legally compliant.
    • Indicate the desired duration of the waiver, up to two years.
  3. Regarding certification, the superintendent's signature is required together with the date of the local governing board's approval.
  4. Some waivers will be approved only after reviewing additional information. Please inquire about supplemental guidelines and instructions that may apply to your request.

If a decision on the waiver request is not received within 30 days, contact:

Educational Options Office

Questions:   Educational Options Office |
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, May 01, 2024
Related Content
  • Alternative Schools & Programs of Choice
    Provides a different means of attaining the objectives of regular education and meeting students' needs. They are voluntary for districts, teachers, students, and their parents.
Recently Posted in Educational Options
No items posted in the last 60 days.