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State Board of Education seeking comment on rules for charter schools

The Washington State Board of Education's Feb. 26 meeting in Olympia, Washington, at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, will include a public hearing on draft rules pertinent to the state's first public charter schools.

Those wishing to provide comment on the draft rules may attend the hearing in Olympia, via K-20 video feed in Spokane at the office of ESD 101, or by writing directly at sbe@k12.wa.us.

The draft rules establish an annual application and approval process and timelines for local school boards seeking approval to be charter school authorizers. For example, the current draft rules will require school districts to submit an authorizer application to the State Board by June 15 and for the State Board of Education to make decisions on those applications by August 15.

The draft rules also set requirements for districts applying to authorize charter schools, as well as criteria for the evaluation and approval or denial of those applications.

The Board's work with public charter schools began with the passage of Initiative 1240. Initiative 1240 calls for the State Board of Education to work with local school districts who wish to authorize a charter school.

Local school boards seeking to be charter school authorizers must apply to and be approved by the State Board. Upon approval, school districts must also submit annual reports to the Board evaluating charter schools' performance under contract.

The State Board is also responsible for submitting annual reports to the Governor and Legislature, as well as an analysis of the public charter schools program five years after its induction.

The draft rules and more information on charter schools is available at www.sbe.wa.gov/charters.php.

The Board meeting will begin at 1 p.m. Feb. 26.

The meeting agenda will be available by Feb. 22 at www.sbe.wa.gov/materials.php. Materials discussed during the meeting will be available by 5 p.m. Feb. 25.

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