Ahead of the Curve

There are 295 school districts across the state of Washington. And so far only one, Spokane Public Schools, has opted to become a charter school authorizer. One reason, Superintendent Shelley Redinger says, is because local district leadership has experience in the charter school world.

“When I was in Oregon as a superintendent, we jumped on board early and turned in an application [to authorize a charter school],” Redinger says. School board president Bob Douthitt had a child at a charter school, and Deana Brower, the most recently elected school board member, once worked at a charter school.

Charter schools are non-traditional schools funded by public money, but often run by separate nonprofit organizations.

“We actually have some staff that approached us saying they would like to help lead a charter school,” Redinger says. Otherwise, she says, the district would look for an outside charter management organization with a “proven track record” to run the school.

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