WA Charter
Public School System


A charter contract is a fixed term, renewable contract between a qualified non-profit organization and the Commission that outlines the roles, powers, responsibilities, and performance expectations for each party of the contract. Depending on a charter public school’s performance, the charter contract can be renewed, revoked, or terminated. All Commission authorized charter schools must sign a five-year contract that contains clear expectations regarding the school’s performance. In addition to the terms of its charter contract, each charter public school is subject to the same certification requirements and state and national standards as traditional public schools.

The charter contract is a voluntary agreement between the Washington State Charter School Commission (Commission) and a Washington state public benefit non-profit (charter public school board) that is enforceable by law (Revise Code of Washington RCW 28A.710.160) as a binding legal agreement.

How was the Commission’s charter contract developed?

The Commission reviewed:

  • Federal and State statutes;
  • Rules/regulations;
  • Policies/interpretive statements; and
  • Non–regulatory guidance in the development of the sample charter contract.

The Commission collaborated with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and other charter school authorizers, incorporated feedback from authorized schools, and incorporated lessons learned from the implementation of oversight processes to develop and refine the charter contract.

The current charter contract is the fourth iteration, and the Commission continues to incorporate feedback and lessons learned into future iterations of the contract.

Charter contract resources


Every charter public school must meet the requirements of a Performance Framework but they retain the flexibility and autonomy that allows them to differ from traditional public schools in the ways that matter most. A charter public school’s vision, mission and educational programming are developed specifically for the community they serve.

A few examples of charter public school flexibility include…

Pullman Community Montessori is a K-9 school that offers a community-developed, place-based Montessori curriculum to meet the diversifying needs of its rural, yet dynamic and growing community.

Rainier Valley Leadership Academy in South Seattle is an antiracist school that continuously addresses racism with urgency and action, using a decolonizing curriculum and empowering its community.