Questions and Answers About The Washington Public Charter Schools Initiative

Q: What are charter schools?
Charter schools are independently managed public schools that are operated by approved nonprofit organizations. They 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 and hold teachers to the same certification requirements as other public schools do.

Public charter schools, however, are free from many other regulations, so they have more flexibility to set curriculum and budgets, hire and fire teachers and staff, and offer more customized learning experiences for students. Most other states have public charter schools, but they are not yet allowed under Washington’s current state law.

Q: What does this initiative do?
This measure 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 and an evaluation at the end of the five-year period to determine whether additional public charter schools should be allowed.

Q: Will the schools be ran for profit?  Will they be publicly traded?
No, the vision of Public Charter Schools Initiative is to allow independently managed public schools that are operated by approved nonprofit organizations. They are not allowed to be operated with the goal of making a profit.  Companies that provide services to the nonprofit organizations are allowed to make a profit.

The schools will not be publicly traded and you will not be able to buy stock in them.  They are meant to enrich our society and the life of the children who attend these schools. Not shareholders.  I recommend that you visit this site if you want to find publicly traded educational companies.

Q: Who is supporting this measure?
The Washington Public Charter Schools Initiative is supported by a growing bi-partisan coalition of education advocates, teachers, parents and community leaders, including Democrat and Republican legislators State Sen. Rodney Tom (D), State Sen. Steve Litzow (R), and State Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D), as well as the League of Education Voters, the Washington Chapter of Stand For Children, and Democrats for Education Reform.

Q. Voters have rejected charter schools before – what’s different?
Our current public school system is working well for many students, but many others are struggling and at risk of dropping out. There are still far too many students in our public schools who are falling through the cracks. Washington is one of the few states that doesn’t offer the option of public charter schools to help those struggling students succeed.

Initiative 1240 is modeled on the most successful charter school laws so that we can bring the best of what works in other states to Washington. We think once the voters have studied this measure, a majority will agree with us that parents and students in Washington deserve to have the same opportunities and options available to them that parents and students in other states have.