The State Board of Education has multiple responsibilities under the charter school law for administration, oversight and reporting. Its primary responsibility is approval of school districts wishing to be authorizers of charter schools. Through its representation on the Washington State Charter School Commission, it also participates in the authorizing of charter schools. For detailed information about charter schools, see the Charter Schools FAQ.
Statutory Duties for Charter Schools
Initiative 1240, approved by the voters at the November 2012 general election, assigned major responsibilities to the State Board of Education for implementation and oversight of the state’s charter schools law. The initiative was codified as RCW 28A.710.
The law requires the State Board of Education to establish an annual application approval process and timelines for school districts wishing to be authorizers of charter schools. If the Board approves a district as an authorizer, it must then enter into an authorizing contract with the district in order for the district to authorize charter schools. The law then charges the Board with oversight of the performance of school district it has approved as authorizers. It sets due dates for various actions by charter authorizers and applicants. It establishes an authorizer oversight fee to offset costs to authorizers of carrying out their duties for charter schools. It receives annual reports from each authorizer on the performance of the schools it has authorized. It is responsible for producing, in collaboration with the Commission, an annual report on the state’s charter schools for the preceding year. In response to the Supreme Court decision in League of Women Voters v. Washington, the 2016 Legislature passed E2SSB 6194, re-enacting and amending the state’s charter school law. The bill, enacted as Chapter 241, Laws of 2016, made no changes to the Board’s existing duties for charter schools, but added a few new ones. It added the board chair or the chair’s designee to the membership of the Washington State Charter School Commission. It also required the Board, by June 2, 2016, to offer an opportunity for any party with whom it had entered into a contract under the prior law to execute a new contract with the SBE with the same or substantially the same terms and duration as in effect on December 1, 2015. On May 25, 2016, the SBE executed a new authorizing contract with Spokane Public Schools.
Charter Schools Timelines
1The date by which authorizers report approval or denial of charter applications to the SBE is set by RCW 28A.170.150(2) at ten days from the action to approve or deny.
Frequently Asked Questions
Authorizer Annual Reports
District Notices of Intent