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November 9, 2012 at 7:55 PM
Initiative 1240, the statewide measure to approve charter schools, was still too close to call Friday night.
It was leading 50.8 to 49.2 percent, down a little from Thursday, when it had a full two-point lead
The measure continued to trail in King County, with 51.5 percent of voters against, but was still ahead in Snohomish and Pierce counties.
Supporters said they don’t see how the measure could fail, but they have yet to declare victory, and opponents have not conceded.
October 23, 2012 at 1:20 PM
The National Education Association, which supports charter schools in some states, has contributed $250,000 to the campaign to defeat a charter school initiative here, the campaign’s largest contribution to date.
The NEA is the parent group for the Washington Education Association, Washington’s largest teachers union, and it has donated to anti-charter-school campaigns here in the past. WEA President Mary Lindquist said the NEA leaders think Initiative 1240 is an extreme measure, in part because it comes at a time when Washington’s Supreme Court has said the state already underfunds existing public schools.
“It’s the wrong idea at the wrong time,” Lindquist said.
The WEA also kicked into another $50,000 to the No campaign this week, bringing its total to $200,000.
Charter supporters still have much more money, now $9.3 million and counting, mostly from a number of wealthy individuals such as Bill Gates and Walmart heiress Alice Walton.
October 16, 2012 at 4:38 PM
The money keeps rolling in for the pro-charter-school initiative, with another $700,000 in donations reported last week, following $3 million the week before.
The latest donations include $400,000 from Connie Ballmer, wife of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, $200,000 from billionaire businessman and philanthropist Eli Broad, and $100,000 from Doris Fisher of San Francisco, who co-founded the Gap clothing chain with her late husband.
The two groups campaigning against Initiative 1240 haven’t even raised $700,000 total. People for Our Public Schools posted a couple of $10,000 contributions last week, bringing its total to $320,000. Those $10,000 contributions came from labor groups – the International Union of Operating Engineers out of Washington, D.C., and the Washington State Labor Council. No on 1240 has raised about $16,400.
The total donations for the Yes on 1240 committee are now about $9 million.
September 25, 2012 at 6:16 PM
The state Democratic Party has joined 16 of the state’s smaller Democratic groups in opposing an initiative that seeks to bring charter schools to Washington state.
Along with the vote by Washington State Democrats over the weekend, Democrats in 13 legislative districts across Puget Sound also have announced they oppose Initiative 1240, which calls for allowing up to 40 charter schools over five years. So have King County Democrats, Pierce County Democrats, and the Pierce County Young Democrats.
Washington state is one of a handful of states that don’t allow charters — which are public schools created through a contract that frees the school from many of the policies and procedures other public schools must follow.
Under Initiative 1240, the groups that apply to run charters must be non-profit organizations.
September 21, 2012 at 11:28 AM
Teachers United, a two-year-old organization of about 250 teachers, announced Friday that it supports bringing charter schools to Washington state.
In a prepared release, Chris Eide, the group’s executive director, said the decision to support Initiative 1240 was based largely on research done by a committee of 17 teachers.
The group said its committee members were originally split on whether to support the ballot measure, but after studying the issues and visiting charter schools in other states, they decided that charters would benefit Washington state. The group also polled its membership, and said 77 percent support the initiative.
Despite that support, the group has concerns about how the initiative would play out in this state. If the initiative passes, they said they hope, among other things, that the state would give priority to schools that serve at-risk students, that charter schools would have teachers with a mix of seniority, that charter schools and school districts would cooperate, and that charter schools would provide information about their attrition rates, graduation rates, teacher turnover and more.
Teachers United, which has received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said its members belong to teachers unions. It works to involve teachers in education policy debates.
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