About the Charter Public School Investigation Process

In Washington, charter public schools are  part of a multi-level system of accountability and oversight/ LINK TO GRAPHIC. One part of the Commission’s specific role is ensuring charter public schools adhere to the commitments of their contracts (their charters) and to the myriad of expectations codified in each school’s Performance Framework (learn more about Commission oversight here).

When potential issues that affect or could affect students and/or the learning environment are identified, the Commission can initiate a process that evaluates, invites due process from the school, and ultimately issues direction on what must be remedied to maintain compliance with charter public school rules and regulations. This level of oversight is rigorous and goes beyond what is required at traditional public schools. In exchange for greater accountability, charter public schools have additional flexibility to create a learning environment that best fits the needs of its students.

It is not unusual for the Commission to investigate a charter public school, as issues can be addressed and remedied. However, a school that has fallen irreparably short of the commitments of its charter can be closed.

 

Date of update: RE-DATE WITH EACH UPDATE

The Washington State Charter School Commission (Commission) is currently investigating Pullman Community Montessori (PCM), a charter public school authorized by the Commission. This page is intended to serve as a resource for interested members of the public on the role, process, and actions of the Commission in the interest of students within the guidelines of state law.

Most recent update:

[HOLD]

The work underway:

  • Following community complaints shared with the Commission regarding PCM, the Commission hosted an in-person meeting with PCM community members (currently involved and formerly involved) and conducted direct observation of the school’s operations. In accordance with its oversight role, the Commission has issued PCM’s Board of Directors two items:
    1. Notice of Perceived Problem (2/20/24) – This letter advises that pursuant to Washington law, PCM has 10 working days (3/11/24) to respond to potential breaches of its legal and contractual obligations. It notifies that failure to provide information can lead to corrective action, sanctions, or revocation (closure).
      • The Commission received a comprehensive response from PCM’s Board (3/5/24) that is being evaluated.
    2. Immediate Corrective Action (2/29/24) – This letter advises that the Commission is requiring immediate correction of deficiencies specific to threats to student or employee health, safety, or welfare at PCM. It notifies that a written safety plan is required within 5 working days (3/7/24).
  • The Commission will hold meetings with its full Commission on DATE specific to WHAT THINGS IN THIS PROCESS.

Who is involved:

  • The Washington State Charter School Commission
  • PCM’s Board of Directors

Families in PCM’s community and WHO ELSE are actively observing and participating.

When you can get involved:

The Commission remains open to continue hearing from PCM’s community about its school. Note that every request for information and/or documents is considered and processed/handled in the order it was received, which takes time.

ANY PLACES HERE FOR PUBLIC COMMENT/INVOLVEMENT IS BUILT IN?

General sequence of investigation process:

* PCM is here in the process. Next steps are dependent on outcomes of ongoing assessment and evaluation.

 

EXAMPLES ONLY Frequently Asked Questions:

Can a school under investigation fix problems and continue operating?

What happens to students if a charter public school contract is revoked?

Who decides if a school is closed or not?

What do I do if my school is closed? What resources are available to me to minimize disruptions for my student(s)?

Can a school that has been closed, be re-opened?

I’d like to file a complaint about my school, who do I talk to?

My student attends a traditional public school. What is the process to handle complaints/concerns at my school?

 

Glossary:

Notice of Perceived Problem

Corrective Action

Charter

Immediate Corrective Action