Twelve Washington school districts have formally announced they’ll apply to become charter school authorizers. Bellevue, Highline, Kent, Tacoma, Spokane and Port Townsend are among the districts seeking the power to approve charter school applications in their regions. Those districts met the State Board of Education's April 1 deadline for notices of intent to apply for authorizer status.
Under the state’s new charter school law, nonprofit organizations that want to start charter schools will have to apply to an authorizer: either the new state charter school commission, or one of the local school districts that have been granted authorizing authority by the state.
The Tacoma School Board had vocally opposed the charter school ballot initiative voters approved last fall. But Tacoma Superintendent Carla Santorno says now that the initiative has passed, the district is giving the benefits of becoming a charter authorizer more consideration. A district news release says the school board filed its letter of intent to "buy time" before final applications are due July 1.
Under rules proposed by the State Board of Education, the first round of would-be charter school founders could apply to authorizers this fall.
The state's first charter schools are expected to open in fall 2014.