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Changes Ordered In School Initiative Description

Wed., June 26, 1996

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks has ordered the state to change what it plans to tell voters casting ballots in November on charter schools Initiative 177, a victory for backers.

As revised by Hicks last week, the explanation to be placed in the official voters pamphlet to be published this fall will include several statements sought by the proponents of the initiative, Jim and Fawn Spady of Seattle.

Spady called the original statement “inaccurate, incomplete and misleading.”

Among the revisions will be inclusion of a statement that says charter schools, like conventional public schools, must be non-religious, tuition-free and open to all students, and must not discriminate against people based race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, economic status or disability.

Other revisions ordered by Hicks included inclusion of a statement making it clear that charter schools would be required to identify the proposed uses of all new taxes before a tax levy or bond election, and would be required to spend the taxes as promised. Another revision would note the fact that charter schools could pay teachers more or less than is required in conventional public schools.

David Brine, a spokesman for Secretary of State Ralph Munro, said the new language will be included in the voters’ pamphlet, which is slated to be published about two weeks before the Nov. 5 general election.

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