Washington News

May 24, 2013

Peninsula School District says no to charter schools

by Debbie Cafazzo

School board members in the Gig Harbor-area Peninsula School District have opted out of becoming a charter school authorizer, just as their counterparts in Tacoma have done.

Both the Peninsula and Tacoma school boards last month indicated preliminary interest in the concept of the publicly funded, privately operated schools that statewide voters approved in November. They were among a dozen districts around the state to express interest, and the only ones from Pierce County.

But on Thursday night, both boards said meeting the July 1 state deadline to apply for authorizer status would burden district staff members who are busy with other work.

The Peninsula board also cited the upfront cost to prepare an application for authorizer status as another factor in its decision, Peninsula Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto said Friday.

Like Tacoma, Peninsula board members left open the option of pursuing charter authorizer status in the future, Cuzzetto said.

Under the state’s new voter-approved law, charter schools can be granted authority to operate either by a local school board or by a newly established statewide charter commission.

Even without charter schools, school districts around Washington have plenty of major initiatives to keep them busy, such as preparing for new teacher evaluation systems that must be in place by the fall.

They also are making the transition to Common Core standards for students, which have been adopted by Washington and more than 40 other states. Common Core standards are scheduled to be in place by fall 2014.

Debbie Cafazzo: 253-597-8635

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