Georgia Charter Schools Association


Creating solid charter school petitions

CharterStart is a comprehensive and targeted training program that offers technical and hands-on assistance to those interested in starting high quality charter schools in Georgia. More specifically, CharterStart supports potential charter school operators, as they move through the petitioning process (specific to the laws and rules of Georgia). This program is designed to support and guide participants at all stages from conception to implementation. CharterStart has been developed in conjunction with GCSA’s Quality School Standards.

CharterStart training is offered in two formats:

  1. CharterStart Total Program includes a comprehensive training curriculum over 4-6 months, 40 hours of consulting time, petition review, budget and financial review, mock interview, and numerous resources and templates to support development of the school.  This option is perfect for groups who need support through the entire development and authorization process.
  2. CharterStart a la Carte allows groups to select from a number of individual training modules as well as other services such as petition review, budget and financial review, mock interviews, and consulting services.  This option is perfect for groups needed specific training and development support.

Those interested in CharterStart must complete several preliminary steps prior to acceptance into the program:

  1. Complete the contact information at the bottom of this page;
  2. Become a GCSA member;
  3. Provide GCSA with an executive summary of your school plan which includes:  mission, vision, educational philosophy, targeted attendance zone, targeted student population, school focus/features, evidence of need and academic/organizational innovation;
  4. Research:  demographics of the targeted attendance zone/student population; academic achievement; and school options in the area;
  5. Thoroughly read the state statutes pertaining to charter schools, as well as state board rules pertaining to charter schools; These may be found on the Department of Education’s website at: Also, review the state’s charter petition requirements found on this site, as well as the district and/or Commission’s petitioning requirements and time lines;
  6. Establish a founding board with a minimum of 5 independent participants from diverse backgrounds;
  7. Meet with the local school district (charter liaison if one is available) to inform them of your plans and to gain feedback and establish a relationship;
  8. View the free recording trainings “Getting Started” and “Building Blocks.” Register at (Click on Recorded Sessions);
  9. Meet with the Director of Education and Training. Contact Waynica Staples, to schedule an appointment;
  10. Obtain founding group governance training through GCSA;
  11. Register with the Secretary of State as a Georgia Non-Profit.  Optional:  Begin application for 501(c)(3) status;
  12. Register for CharterStart at:

Click on the following links for more details on the CharterStart Program.

CharterStart Program Description and Application Requirements

CharterStart Agreement

For more information about the program, please contact the Director of Education and Training, Waynica Staples, at 

I am interested in starting a charter school and would like more information!

  • List the county or counties you propose serving
  • Please describe the reason(s) you would like to start a charter school.
  • Please describe the focus of your school, what makes it innovative compared to traditional schools, and any other special features you hope to implement.