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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

January 9, 2015 at 5:00 AM

Charter school operator eyes church in West Seattle

A charter group opening two high schools in the Seattle area this fall has its eyes on a third location in West Seattle, though a charter for the school has not yet been approved.

Summit Public Schools co-founder and CEO Diane Tavenner said her group is starting early on plans to turn a West Seattle church building into a high school in the hopes that its application for another charter is approved this year.

“To have a facility up and running and available, you have to start the facility process before the charter process,” Tavenner said in an interview Tuesday.

Summit is working with Los Angeles-based Pacific Charter School Development to purchase and remodel the building at 9601 35th Ave. SW, which has been home to Freedom Church of Seattle. The sale is expected to close in two to three months, Tavenner said. Pacific Charter School Development is listed as the pending owner on a site plan submitted to the city of Seattle, which shows several additions to the building that, according to Tavenner, was a grocery store before it was a church.

Pacific Charter School Development has built schools for charter groups mostly in California, including Green Dot, which is scheduled to open two charter schools in Washington state in the next two years.

The developer will purchase the West Seattle building and Summit plans to lease it, Tavenner said.

If a charter is approved, Tavenner said, the school will likely open in fall 2016 and eventually ramp up to about 400 students.

The group already has plans to open one charter school in the former Seattle Asian Resource Center facility in Seattle’s International District and a second at 409 Puyallup Ave., in Tacoma this fall.

Voters narrowly passed an initiative in 2012 allowing charter schools to open in Washington state. The law allows for up to eight charter schools to be opened each year for a total of 40 over five years.

The next round of applications for charter schools opens in February, according to the state commission’s website.

Comments | More in News | Topics: Charter school, Summit Public Schools, West Seattle

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