In November 2012, voters approved Initiative Measure No. 1240 (I-1240) to establish charter schools in Washington. I-1240 was codified in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) under 28A.710, also known as the Charter School Act. The Charter School Act outlines the powers and parameters of charter schools in Washington. The Charter School Act also grants certain authority to authorized districts and a state authorizer (the Commission) to authorize and oversee charter schools. The Charter School Act is available for review here.
On September 4, 2015, Washington State’s Supreme Court struck down the entire Charter School Act, putting the more-than-800 students enrolled in Commission-authorized charter schools at severe risk of their school closing. The Court’s decision was devastating to students, families, teachers, and leaders who have spent over two years preparing to serve underrepresented students through effective and innovative methods. The Commission prepared a Legacy Report that provides a brief history of the Commission, the charter schools it authorized and descriptions of processes and resources that were developed in service of developing a public charter school sector in Washington. The Legacy Report is available for review here.
On April 3, 2016, a new charter school law took effect (E2SSB 6194). The law maintains the Commission as an independent state agency and validates actions taken related to the establishment and operations of charter school authorizers in Washington prior to the effective date of the new law. The new law (Charter School Act) has been codified in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) under 28A.710 and is available for review here.