A grant from the U.S. Department of Education to Washington will help support the state’s fledgling charter schools.
The grant, announced Wednesday, will total nearly $7 million over three years. The first $4 million will come to the state during the current school year, with more to follow in subsequent years.
The grant’s purpose is to support the growth of new public school options, including charter schools, across the state. It will pay for additional professional development for teachers and staff, and for curricula and classroom materials. It can also offer financial assistance in planning new charter schools in Washington.
If the state is going to have charter schools, we need to make sure they are given the resources they need to keep providing high-quality education to their students.
State Superintendent Randy Dorn
“The law doesn’t allow for the spending of local levies on charter schools,” Joshua Halsey, executive director of the Washington State Charter School Commission, said in a news release.
“This money will help those schools increase student achievement of students attending charter schools, especially educationally disadvantaged students who have historically struggled in traditional public school settings.”
State Superintendent Randy Dorn said that inequities in state funding affect all schools in Washington, including charters.
“They are relatively new for us and they need support and guidance to meet their goals,” Dorn said in a news release. “If the state is going to have charter schools, we need to make sure they are given the resources they need to keep providing high-quality education to their students. The grant will help that happen.”
The grant will be administered by the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State Board of Education, the Charter School Commission and Spokane Public Schools, which has authorized several charter schools in its community. Other charters were approved and are overseen by the state commission.
Eight charter schools opened last year, including three in Tacoma: Summit Olympus High School, Destiny Middle School and SOAR Academy.
Three more charter schools are scheduled to open in the 2017-18 school year.