by: Essex Porter Updated:OLYMPIA, Wash. —
Only the Spokane School District got the daunting paperwork in on time, so the first charter schools in Washington State will likely be created by parents.
Bertha Alicia Garza was among the parents watching as the Washington Charter School Commission passed the new rules for creating charter schools.
She's planning an English-Spanish language school named for Civil Rights icon Cesar Chavez.
She explains it as, "A dual language charter school in the Yakima area so we can try to get the at risk students who are being left behind”.
Jodie Kotrlik wants to build a school that can serve students like her high-functioning autistic twins. "Really, really (it's about) accessing those kids who are not finding the public school system successful for them."
Brittany Weaver leads Charter Schools of Sunnyside. "I'm a strong believer in the free market and if we are raising the standard of excellence and raising the bar then I hope our school districts will rise as well."
Charter schools are free from union rules and some of the school district bureaucracy, but they will still be regulated by the state.
Still, commission chair Steve Sundquist is not worried about overburdening charter school operators. "I think this is an area, you would expect any school to still have to meet basic health and safety requirements for kids, and clearly they have to be financially solvent."
"We're not going to be scared away," says Jodie Kotrlik. "We are a very passionate group of people. We're going to bring it."