Great news! Yesterday afternoon a bipartisan coalition filed a ballot initiative with the Secretary of State to authorize public charter schools in WA. The initiative has not yet been given a number, but you can download a copy from the Secretary of State's web page at:
The initiative is based on the bills that were introduced in the 2012 WA Legislature, but never received an up-or-down vote in either the State House or State Senate.
The Washington Charter School Resource Center will provide more information as soon as its available.
The Seattle Times published the following article in today's newspaper: Advocacy groups file initiative to put charter schools on November ballot -- According to the text, the initiative sets out several guidelines, including a stipulation that any charter schools must be nonprofit and must not be religious.
This initiative will:
- Allow a maximum of up to 40 public charter schools to be established over a five-year period as independently-managed public schools operated only by qualified non-profit organizations approved by the state;
- Require that teachers in public charter schools be held to the same certification requirements as teachers in other public schools;
- Require that there will be annual performance reviews of public charter schools created under this measure, and that the performance of these schools be evaluated to determine whether additional public charter schools should be allowed;
- Require that public charter schools be free and open to all students just as traditional public schools are, and that students be selected by lottery to ensure fairness if more students apply than a school can accommodate;
- Require that public charter schools be subject to the same academic standards as existing public schools;
- Require public charter schools to be authorized and overseen by a state charter school commission, or by a local school board;
- Require that public charter schools receive funding based on student enrollment just like existing public schools;
- Allow public charter schools to be free from many regulations so that they have more flexibility to set curriculum and budgets, hire and fire teachers and staff, and offer more customized learning experiences for students; and
- Give priority to opening public charter schools that serve at-risk student populations or students from low-performing public schools.
The initiative appears to have the support of several wealthy donors, including Bill & Melinda Gates and Nick Hanauer. Here is the link for that: Morning Fizz: $7 million committed to the charters cause?
THANK YOU for your interest in these efforts to bring the CHOICE of charter public schools to WA!