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First Washington District Chosen to Authorize Charters

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The 29,000-student Spokane Public Schools in Eastern Washington has been tapped to be the first school district in the state to authorize charter schools, following voters' approval of charters in the 2012 election.

The district was approved as a charter authorizer by the Washington State Board of Education yesterday and could see approved charters opening there by next school year.

The Spokane school district was the only district in the state to submit its application to become a charter school authorizer by the July 1 deadline, reports The Spokesman-Review.

Districts that want to become authorizers in the 2014-15 school year must submit a letter of intent by Oct. 1.

When it comes to approving charters to open in Spokane, applications will be due Nov. 22 and the district will have until Feb. 24 to accept or decline the applications.

"We're thrilled that both the third largest school district in the state and the Board of Education are embracing more public education options for kids, recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work for every family," said Chris Korsmo, the board chair of the Washington State Charter Schools Association, in a statement following the announcement.

Under the charter-school law approved by voters, up to 40 charter schools can be opened in Washington over the next five years, with a maximum of eight schools opening per year.

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