Spokane district preparing for charter schools

SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington voters made it clear they want a change in the way public schools operate with the potential passage of Charter School Initiative 1240, so what could that mean for Spokane schools?

If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again. That's what charter school supporters did after three failed attempts to bring these schools to our state. Apparently the fourth time's the charm.

Now Spokane Schools Superintendent Dr. Shelley Redinger is ready to get the ball rolling.

spokane charter school

"I do feel strongly that Spokane public schools needs to be in the mix," Redinger said.

Dr. Redinger says that means they'll apply to bring a charter school to Spokane.

"It's kind of déjà vu for me. When I was a superintendent in Oregon the charter school law passed and we applied and were able to receive the charter school," she explained.

Redinger saw success in that Oregon charter school and now hopes to bring the same results to Spokane. As for what this school will be like it all depends on the community needs.

"We have already started a listening and learning survey and learning from the community what types of different programs they would like to see when we apply for our Spokane charter school," she said.

It was a hard-fought battle though, and local teacher's union president Jenny Rose said she's disappointed by the results.

"It's going to draw money away from our local public schools and that part is really going to hurt our kids," Rose said.

"It's only a few each year about eight schools a year so the financial or monetary impact is not real great to public education," Redinger said.

The schools would be free, open to the public, run by a non-profit and governed by a charter school board.

"You would also have another board that is operated separately that reports to the school board so they have a little bit more autonomy but they still report to the school board," Redinger said.

This initiative would allow 40 charter schools to open up statewide over the next five years. They'd receive the same amount of money per student as other schools, which is about $5,800.

"Washington's approach was well thought out, not completely opening the doors, piloting programs, evaluating as they go," Redinger said.

The initiative will cost the state about $3 Million to implement over the next five years, and if approved, a potential Spokane charter school could open as early as next fall.