Public Charters
Public charters



Staff Contact:
Kaaren Heikes

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.

Charter Schools Authorizer Application
Authorizer Notice of Intent
Other Charter Documents
Charter Rules

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

Charter Authorizer Applications Effective
May 15, 2015
Last date for posting of authorizer application by SBE May 15
Last date for district notice of intent to submit authorizer application June 15
Last date for district to submit authorizer application October 15
Last date for SBE to approve or deny authorizer application February 1
Last date for SBE authorizing contract with approved district March 1
Charter School Applications Effective
May 15, 2015
Last date for all authorizers to issue RFPs for charter applicants March 1
Last date to submit charter applications to authorizers June 1
Last date for authorizers to approve or deny charter applications September 1
Last date for authorizers to report approval or denial of charter applications to SBE See note1

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

2015 Authorizer Annual Reports
Charter School Commission
2014 Authorizer Annual Reports
Spokane School District Charter School Commission


District Documents

District Notices of Intent

Notices for 2014 approvals
Tacoma School District West Valley School District (Yakima)
Highline School District  
Notices for 2013 approvals
Battle Ground School District Bellevue School District
Eastmont School District Highline School District
Kent School District Naselle School District
Peninsula School District Port Townsend School District
Sequim School District Spokane School District
Sunnyside School District Tacoma School District
Yakima School District  


Additional information

Date Media
NACSA Principles & Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing
September 6 Charter School Handout
April 16 Charter Timelines - updated in May
April 8 AGO Charter Law Overview
April 8 Charter School Commission Presentation
April 2 Proposed Rules for Public Hearing on May 8
April 2 School District Fiscal Impact Statement on Proposed Rules
April 2 Estimating the Authorizer Oversight Fee
April 2 Provisions for SBE Rule Making on Charter Schools
March 8 Adopted Charter School Rules (Code Reviser)
February 12 Charter Schools - Complete Chapter RCW 28A.710
January 15 National Association of Charter School Authorizers' Principles and Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing - 2012 Edition
  Initiative 1240
  Initiative 1240 explanatory statement (Secretary of State 2012 Voters' Pamphlet)
November 9 SBE Responsibilities in Public Charters