Charter Commission Advised To Approve Only Six Schools Thursday

Jan 30, 2014

The Washington State Charter School Commission is scheduled to vote Thursday on the 19 charter applications it received.

The commission hired outside evaluators, who advised that only six out of the 19 applications be approved.

In Spokane School District, the state's only other charter authorizer to date, the commission engaged the National Association of Charter School Authorizers to help it pore through hundreds of pages per application of prospective schools’ histories, financial plans and educational models.

NACSA's evaluator teams found that fewer than one-third of the applicants appeared likely to succeed.

Three applications from the California-based charter chains Green Dot and Summit Public Schools received high marks, as did a school proposed by veteran Washington educators and an existing school for children who have experienced trauma.

The evaluators said those applications were well thought out and had community support.

But the evaluators found the other 13 applications lacking in various areas. They questioned some applicants’ financial plans, including high pay for administrators. The evaluators also found that other applicants didn’t have clear curriculum plans, or had poor track records running other charter schools.

The state commission will get a presentation from NACSA before voting on the applications.

The first charter school could open in Washington this fall, but all of the schools the evaluators recommended, as well as the school Spokane authorized last week, would open in 2015.