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Charter initiative moving forward

Sun., June 17, 2012

OLYMPIA – Supporters are cleared to begin collecting signatures for a citizen initiative to create a public charter school system in Washington.

Thurston County Judge Lisa Sutton tweaked ballot language Friday after hearing from parties on opposite sides of the issue and gave approval, the Olympian newspaper reported Saturday.

Both supporters and critics of Initiative 1240 had challenged the ballot title and description written by the attorney general’s office.

The campaign faces a July 6 deadline for securing 241,153 valid voter signatures to get on the Nov. 6 ballot.

“We look forward to getting on the streets gathering signatures as soon as we can,” Shannon Campion, executive director for reform-advocacy group Stand for Children, told the Olympian. “It will be a combination of paid and volunteer signature gathering.”

Charters are public schools that run independently from district controls. They are governed by a multiyear performance contract that requires proof that a school is improving student achievement.

Washington voters rejected initiatives calling for charter schools in 1996, 2000 and 2004.

The Washington Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, opposes charters.


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