Washington State's Board of Education has given District 81 the green light to authorize charter schools in the Spokane area, becoming the first district in the state approved to be a charter school authorizer.
With 29,000 students district-wide, there is no cookie cutter way in the classroom.
"We know size doesn't fit all when it comes to educating children," school board vice president Susan Chapin said.
That's the reason the district wants to bring in charter schools: Options. On Thursday, enthusiastic school leaders talked about charter schools and what type we might see in Spokane.
"We will be looking for innovative practices, best practices, proven practices throughout the nation and world," Superintendent Shelley Redinger said.
"Done effective we think charter schools do have a track record of high achievement," school board president Robert Douthitt said.
Charter schools are public schools run by non-profit organizations. District 81 is the authorizer, meaning they can accept or deny an offer from a non-profit to open up a school in Spokane.
"We have had quite a few emails and phone calls from different groups throughout the nation, wanting to meet and discuss options," Redinger said.
Groups have until November 22 to submit their applications. Charter schools receive state funding just like public schools -- which amounts to $5,300 per student -- per year. They're held to the same academic standards too, but there is more flexibility and room for innovation. It's this change in the classroom that parent Chris Martin likes.
"It really opens up an opportunity to find a non traditional environment where kids can find the actual fit for them," Martin said.
Martin is a part of the state's charter school commission and the commission and District 81 are the only ones in the state that can approve charter schools.
The first charter schools could open up by next fall.