FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Adam Ratliff
Twenty One Prospective Founders Apply to Open Public Charter Schools
With 21 educator and community groups striving for eight opportunities, Washington parents and communities show demand for high-quality public education options
Olympia, Wash. – Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters) interim CEO Marta Reyes-Newberry issued the following statement praising the 21 prospective public charter school founders who today submitted applications to the state Charter School Commission and Spokane Public Schools:
“We are thrilled to see that 21 prospective public charter school founders have applied for just eight opportunities to open high-quality charter schools. This is tremendous interest in just this first year. Comprised of public school teachers school leaders, community groups and proven nonprofit organizations, these aspiring charter school founders demonstrate the strong demand in our state for high-quality public education options.”
The Charter School Commission received applications from 18 prospective operators, while Spokane Public Schools received three applications. Submitted charter applications include the longtime public educators of the inaugural Washington State Charter School Leadership Cohort, who all are committed to 100 percent four-year college entrance and completion for underserved students. Maggie O’Sullivan, Brenda McDonald and Kristina Bellamy-McClain spent the summer and fall in training as leadership fellows to found high-performing charter schools in their home communities of south King County, Spokane and Tacoma.
Joining with these local educators are two of the highest-performing charter nonprofit organizations in the country – Summit Public Schools and Green Dot Public Schools. Serving diverse communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, nearly 100 percent of Summit graduates have been accepted to one or more four-year universities. Operating in some of the Los Angeles’ highest-need communities, students attending Green Dot schools are nearly four times more likely to graduate ready for college than students at neighboring schools.
In November 2012, voters and parents came together to approve the Washington Charter School Initiative, allowing for up to 40 charter schools in the state over a five-year period. With eight charters granted each year, potential charter operators submitted letters of intent on Oct. 22. Following the letters of intent, Nov. 22 was the first opportunity to complete the rigorous charter application focused on improving outcomes for underserved students. The first round of approval decisions will be made by the state Charter Commission and district authorizer by Feb. 24, 2014. In July 2014, prospective operators will have the chance to strengthen their charter applications to re-apply or submit new applications to the Charter Commission and to approved school district authorizers.