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Charter School Appeal Board Process

  1. A local school board denies an original application or a resubmitted application and provides written notice to the applicant.

  2. Applicants gather signatures to appeal the denial within 60 days of the date of the denial notice. Signatures must be from adults 18 years of age or older and must represent at least 2 percent of the total number (all ages) of local school district's residents or 1,000 residents, whichever is less.

  3. Present the petition to the Court of Common Pleas. There is no time requirement for this step.

  4. The court decree and petition are forwarded to the Appeals Board. There is no time requirement for this step.

  5. If permitted by the court decree, the applicant files a petition to appeal with the Charter School Appeal Board (CAB) stating the reasons for disagreeing with the school board's denial of the application.

CAB receives the appeal, provides written notice of receiving the appeal, assigns a docket number, assigns a hearing officer if appropriate and requests that the school district provide the certified record to the board within 10 days. 

CAB Filing Procedures

Please follow the instructions set forth on PDE's "Procedures for Electronic Filings and Video/Telephonic Hearings During COVID-19 Emergency". In addition, two copies of the certified record should be mailed to the CAB Docket Clerk (PDE, 607 South Drive, 3rd Floor, Harrisburg, PA  17120-0600​​​​) on a flash drive or disc so that one can be provided to the Hearing Officer when appointed. After a Hearing Officer has been appointed, filings emailed to should also be emailed to the Hearing Officer and to opposing counsel.

The record includes:

  • The charter application;
  • The transcript of testimony taken by the local board of school directors;
  • Exhibits offered in conjunction with testimony before the local board;
  • Any documents referred to or relied upon by the local board of school directors in reaching its decision; and
  • The written decision of the local board of school directors.
    The hearing officer holds a prehearing conference with counsel for the district and the charter applicant. During the conference, the hearing officer will determine whether a hearing is needed on any evidentiary issues, will determine whether supplemental documents are to be offered for CAB's consideration, will set a schedule for the filing of briefs and will set the date for presentation of the case to CAB. Regarding supplemental documentary information, CAB may permit the record to be supplemented if the information was previously unavailable and/or if the local school board of school directors excluded materials from the record.

If additional evidence is to be taken for inclusion in the record:

The hearing officer will conduct a hearing, issue necessary orders regarding pre-hearing submissions and after the hearing is concluded will provide the entire appeal file to CAB.

If no additional evidence is to be provided:

The hearing officer will prepare to certify the record to CAB.

  1. CAB meets to accept the certified record and hears argument from the parties. CAB must comply with the Sunshine Act and Right To Know Law.

  2. CAB subsequently meets to review the record, discuss the appeal and vote on the appeal.

  3. After CAB's vote, CAB must issue a written decision affirming or denying the appeal within 60 days and provide a copy of the decision to both parties.

If CAB grants the appeal, the local board of school directors has 10 days after the date of the actual vote by CAB to grant the application and sign the charter. If the local board fails to do so, the charter will be deemed approved and signed by CAB's chairman.

Appeals from decisions to nonrenew or revoke a charter

In the case of a board of school director's decision to deny an application to renew a charter upon the expiration of its term or to revoke a charter, paragraphs 2 through 4, regarding the signature petition process, do not apply.