Fact Sheet

Key Facts about I-1240: The Washington Public Charter Schools Initiative

Initiative 1240, a ballot measure that will appear on the November 2012 statewide ballot, will allow up to 40
public charter schools in Washington state over a five-year period. These schools will be subject to strict oversight and public accountability, including annual performance reviews to evaluate their success in improving student outcomes. There will also be an evaluation at the end of the five-year period to determine whether additional public charter schools should be allowed.

Charter schools are public schools
Charter schools are independently managed public schools operated by qualified nonprofit organizations. They are authorized and overseen by a state charter school commission or by a local school board. These schools do not charge tuition, are open to all students and receive funding based on student enrollment just like traditional public schools.

Public charter schools are subject to the same academic standards as traditional public schools
Public charter schools must meet the same academic standards and requirements as traditional public schools, but they are free from many other regulations. This means they have more flexibility to set curriculum and budgets, hire and fire teachers and staff and offer more customized learning experiences for students.

Forty-one other states have successful public charter schools
Most other states already have charter schools, but they are not yet allowed under Washington’s current state law. Initiative 1240 will finally allow parents and students in Washington the option of public charter schools, just as parents and students already have in 41 other states.

Teachers in public charter schools are subject to the same certification requirements as teachers in other public schools
Initiative 1240 requires that teachers in public charter schools be held to the same certification requirements as teachers in other public schools.

Initiative 1240 sets strict accountability and performance requirements
The initiative sets strict qualification requirements for public charter school operators and requires strict oversight and accountability standards – including annual performance reporting for public charter schools to evaluate their success in improving student outcomes. The initiative also requires that public charter schools be evaluated after five years by the state charter school commission in collaboration with the state board of education to determine whether additional public charter schools should be allowed.

I-1240 is supported by a broad and growing bi-partisan coalition
Initiative 1240 is supported by a broad bi-partisan coalition that includes parents, teachers, community leaders and education experts from across the state. Founding members and supporters of the YES on 1240 Coalition include the League of Education Voters, Democrats for Education Reform and the Washington Chapter of Stand For Children.