Public Charter Schools

Washington Coalition for Public Charter Schools

YES on 1240 for public charter schools was approved by the voters of Washington on November 6 and certified into law on December 6, 2012.

public charter schools

Learn more about implementation of the voter-approved charter school law on the official coalition website at

What is a public charter school? 

Public charter schools are independently managed public schools, free and open to all students, just like traditional public schools, operated by qualified non-profits and overseen by a local school board or state commission. Public charter schools must meet the same academic standards as traditional public schools, and teachers are held to the same certification requirements as teachers in other public schools. 

Public charter schools are free from certain regulations, so they can innovate and create a learning environment that will best meet the needs of students

How are public charter schools funded?

Public charter schools receive funding based on student enrollment just like traditional public schools. The state funding follows the student to whichever school they choose to attend, so the funding stays within our public school system to serve public school students.  

Who else supports public charter schools? 

Local communities across Washington support YES on 1240. The Seattle Times wrote that "our schools need new and creative approaches," and the Vancouver Columbian wrote that "charter schools represent innovative thinking." The Spokane Spokesman-Review wrote that "charter schools should be viewed as another alternative rather than a threat," and the Everett Herald urged voters to consider "a willingness to try new approaches, not stubbornly clinging to the status quo." The Tacoma News Tribune calls the option of public charter schools "an essential escape route" for parents and students.

Bill Gates, Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, State Rep. Eric Pettigrew, State Sen. Steve Litzow, the League of Education Voters, the Partnership for Learning, the Washington Roundtable, the Association of Washington Business, Stand for Children, and parents, teachers, education advocates and community members and over 50% of the voters all supported YES on 1240.

In general, both President Barack Obama and presidential challenger Mitt Romney support charter schools. National teachers unions, the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers, as well as the National PTA also support charter schools and school choice.

Washington is the 42nd state to approve public charter schools. 41 other states already have public charter schools, some with 20 years of experience. I-1240 was written to take the best of what works in other states and bring it to Washington as an option for our parents and students. 

Studies & Data

To learn more about public charter schools, please read our compilation of research and studies on public charter schools, and our list of myths and facts.

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