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Charter School Item Will Go to Wash. State Voters

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Most of the public's attention on election night will tilt toward the race for the White House, as well as battles for U.S. Senate, Congress, and governor—and perhaps rightly so. But the education-focused among us might also want to carve out some time that night to scan the results coming in from Washington state.

A measure that would allow for the creation of charter schools in Washington will go before voters Nov. 6, after backers of the plan succeeded in collecting enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot.

Secretary of State Sam Reed says his office has certified the measure, known as Initiative 1240, allowing it to go before voters. Proponents of the effort needed to collect roughly 241,000 signatures. Organizers turned in 357,352 signatures to the state.

Campaign 2012

State elections officials, in a statement issued this week, said the item had easily qualified, despite organizers' having worked to collect signatures in a compressed time period. Reed's office explained its review of the signatures this way: "Of the random sample of 10,915, inspectors found 9,337 were valid, with the rest either invalid or duplicates. The error rate was 16.2 percent, a little 'cleaner' than the average of 18 percent."

As we've explained in an earlier post, this will be the fourth time that Washington state voters decide on whether to allow charter schools—earlier measures were shot down in 1996, 2000, and 2004. The charter school effort had picked up financial support from a number of big names in the business community, including Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen.

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