What charter schools mean for Yakima

What charter schools mean for Yakima
YAKIMA, Wash. -- We're still covering Campaign 2012 as Election Day moves closer. Some think this could be the year charter schools get the OK in Washington. Voters rejected them in the past despite 41other states having them. We wanted to know how Yakima would be affected if charter schools were allowed.

Basically, charter schools undergo the same government oversight as traditional public schools, but are free of district management. They're run by non-profits, but still must meet state standards with state-certified teachers. However, charter schools can follow their own educational philosophy and curriculum.

If one was built in Yakima, your kid could get the chance to go through a lottery system, but, there's no guarantee. It depends on the grade levels being taught and whether there's enough space.

Initiative-1240 aims to bring 40 charter schools to Washington over the next five years. There's no guarantee where they'd go.

"Yakima could have a charter school." said the president of the Yakima school board, Martha Rice. "Honestly I think it's fairly unlikely that Yakima would end up with a charter school...Having said that that doesn't mean the people in Yakima shouldn't be concerned about this because Yakima's taxpayers dollars go into the state fund that help fund those privately operated charter schools"

That's the challenge. Proponents argue charter schools will force our current schools to be more competitive. Others say they would simply split state money even more leaving current schools to do more with less.

The Washington Policy Center calls Initiative 1240 the best charter school law in the country. The teachers' union hopes you'll keep these schools out of our community once again.Voters will decide if now's the time for charter schools in Washington. Staffing to oversee the charter schools would be an added cost to the taxpayer.

I-1240 would have a charter schools commission that would cost the state about three-million dollars over the five years that schools would be established. If adopted, the first charter school could open next year.