Seattle will be home to one of the state’s first charter schools, First Place Scholars, which was approved this morning by the state commission charged with making the selections.
The First Place nonprofit organization, which has long served homeless children as a private school, is among 19 applicants under consideration today by the Washington State Charter School Commission, which is meeting all day in White Center.
The commission also approved the Excel Public Charter School, which will open in Kent in 2015. The school will focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines for students in 6th through 12th grades.
Green Dot Public Schools, a California-based charter school network, got the green light from the commission to expand into Washington State with a middle school in Southeast, Tacoma that will open in 2015.
The commission will be reviewing applications throughout the day today, taking each applicant in alphabetical order.
By the time it took a short break just before noon, the commission had approved three and rejected five.The Spokane School District, which is also authorized to approve charter schools, chose PRIDE Prep for grades 6-12 last week from among three applicants. That school also is scheduled to open in 2015.
Charter schools are free, privately operated schools that aren’t bound by many of the rules and regulations governing traditional districts. They’re considered public schools because they receive taxpayer dollars on a per-student basis, like school districts.
After keeping them out of Washington for years, voters narrowly approved a law in 2012 that allows the state and approved school districts to issue contracts to nonprofit organizations to operate up to 40 new charter schools over a five-year period.