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January 13, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Seattle teachers’ union expected to voice opposition at charter school public meeting

Potential operators of Washington’s first charter schools can expect some tough questions from members of the Seattle teacher’s union at a public forum Monday evening at South Seattle Community College.

Seattle Education Association president Jonathan Knapp said in a news release Monday that dozens of Seattle teachers and educators are expected to participate.

Knapp also reiterated the union’s opposition to the 2012 law that allows the creation of up to 8 charter schools a year over a five-year period. The first ones are expected to open in the fall of 2014.

The Washington Education Association is among several plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking to have the 2012 charter school law declared unconstitutional. A King County Superior Court judge’s mixed ruling last month cleared the way for the first schools to open in 2014, but raised questions about their funding that probably will be decided by the Washington State Supreme Court.

“But if we’re going to have publicly funded charter schools in our community, Seattle educators believe they should be held to the same high standards and level of accountability as our existing Seattle Public Schools,” said Knapp said, according to the union’s news release.

The Washington State Charter School Commission is considering 19 nonprofit organizations that have applied to open charter schools this year or next year. The commission is expected to announce its choices at a meeting Jan. 30. The Spokane school district is expected to vote Jan. 22 on whether to authorize any of the three nonprofits it’s considering.

Last week, the commission conducted what were essentially job interviews for the candidates where they could explain the educational, organizational and financial details behind their applications, which run hundreds of pages long.

The commission also is hosting public forums throughout the state to give operators a chance to sell their vision to the communities where they want to open and to take questions about their plans.

Leaders of three proposed schools – Washington STEM Academy, CAL Elementary and Sports in Schools Team Charter — will give 10-minute presentations Monday, beginning at 5 p.m.at South Seattle Community College, 6737 Corson Ave. S., Building C, Room C122.

The presentations will be followed by 30 minutes of public comment, limited to two minutes per speaker.

 Speakers will be randomly selected in a lottery prior to the meeting, according to the commission.

Comments | More in Education, General news | Topics: charter schools, Seattle Education Association, Washington State Charter School Commission


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