The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to fully support the petition to convert Clayton Valley High School into a charter school.

The petition, signed by about 80 percent of the school's teachers, was submitted to the Mt. Diablo Unified School District earlier this month.

The district's board will get the final say on the charter conversion. It will hold a hearing on the petition Aug. 9, followed by a final decision Sept. 13, said Clayton Valley teacher Neil McChesney, one of two lead petitioners who submitted the plan.

Those dates, later than the deadlines set by state law, were negotiated between charter organizers and the district, he said.

Clayton's council had endorsed the petition in principle in May, when it loaned the charter committee $8,500 to help pay legal costs, in the hope that the money would be repaid if the petition was successful. The Clayton Business and Community Association also is considering repaying the city for what it contributed; it will vote June 30.

Now that the final plan has been submitted to the district, the council offered its formal endorsement.

"I absolutely hope that our board at the school district will endorse it as well," Councilwoman Julie Pierce said.

Vice Mayor Howard Geller said the petition could not come at a better time. His son, who graduated from Clayton Valley, recently went back to the school as a substitute teacher. When he got home, he asked his father, "What happened to my school?" Geller said.


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The 127-page petition -- plus eight appendices -- details how the charter school would operate. It was crafted with the help of consultants who advised successful charter school conversions in Southern California, McChesney said.

In the petition, Clayton Mayor David Shuey is listed as a member of the charter school's Steering Committee.

The effort also took untold hours of work by teachers at the school, McChesney said.

"It was a labor of love," he said.

Contact Paul Thissen at 925-943-8163.