Tacoma shows new interest in charter schools

Board members say questions that stopped them from filing an application last year have been answered

Tacoma Public Schools will submit a second letter of intent to state officials, indicating the district’s renewed interest in possibly becoming an authorizer of charter schools. But the soonest a charter school could open in Tacoma with the district’s blessing is still two years away.

Under the law approved by Washington voters last year, the publicly funded, privately run schools can be granted authority to operate either by a local school board or by the statewide charter commission.

But local boards first must apply to the state Board of Education. The Spokane School District recently won such approval, becoming the first local school district in Washington allowed to authorize charters within its boundaries. A charter school could open in Spokane as soon as fall 2014.