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The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

August 11, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Washington PTA announces opposition to charter school initiative

An influential Washington state parent group that likes the idea of charter schools announced Saturday it will oppose the latest attempt to bring them here.

The Washington State PTA said Initiative 1240, which would authorize 40 charters over five years, does not include enough parent involvement or local oversight.

“This wasn’t a decision about the value of charter schools,” said state PTA President Novella Fraser in a news release. “This was a decision about whether this initiative met our criteria.”

Charter schools, free and public but independent of schools districts, exist in 41 states but have been rejected here three times.

They are controversial because of their unconventional techniques, including the hiring of nonunion workers.

The latest effort has already raised $3.4 million, mostly from multimillionaires like Bill Gates and Alice Walton.

Shannon Campion, a spokesman for the initiative, said she was surprised by the PTA’s decision.

“We respectfully disagree with the PTA board’s position and view it as essentially a misreading because of the strong parent involvement in this initiative,” Campion said.

The PTA will not put any money into defeating the initiative, said Bill Williams, the group’s executive director.

Their vote came after a board meeting Friday.

0 Comments | More in Education, homepage | Topics: charter schools, Initiative 1240, Washington PTA

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