11/13/2012 09:12 am ET

Spokane Public Schools Indicates It Will Apply For Charter School

Washington’s Initiative 1240, which allows for the creation of up to 40 charter schools over five years, has been approved by a majority of Washington voters, and Spokane Public Schools officials have indicated they will apply for one.

“If we are trying to do some innovative programs, we should have a good shot,” Superintendent Shelley Redinger, who helped set up a charter school as a superintendent in Oregon, told the Spokesman-Review. “Part of it is if we don’t have one to offer our community and someone else does, I’m afraid the students will go elsewhere.”

Both Mead School District and Central Valley School District have not discussed the possibility of a charter school, while East Valley School District superintendent John Glenewinkle expressed uncertainty about applying for one, telling the Spokesman-Review, “My sense is that it will be extremely difficult for us to get a charter school in the first year because of the demographics of the state and the limits of schools per year.”

Washington’s teachers unions, as well as the National Education Association, opposed the measure, claiming it would divert money from traditional schools and at best serve less than 1 percent of the state’s students and families.

The state-approved charter schools will be free and independently run, and will choose their students by lottery.

Depending on the school’s success, Spokane Public Schools could conceivably apply for another charter, Redinger said.

Under Washington state law, election results will be officially certified and Initiative 1240 will take effect on Dec. 6, the Lake Stevens Journal reports. The measure calls for members of the Washington State Charter School Commission to be appointed within 90 days of the effective date of the law.



Results Of State Ballot Measures That NEA Was Tracking