Charter initiative was hot topic at Latah County Voter's Forum

COLFAX, WA - Charter Initiative Measure 1240 emerged as a hot topic at Tuesday night's voter forum in Colfax.

The Washington Public Charter Schools Initiative would allow up to 40 publicly funded charter schools to be built in the state. The League of Women Voters brought in an educator from the east side of the state to explain why she believes charter schools are necessary.

"Charters may not be a big draw here in the eastern part of the state, that doesn't mean that we should deny those kinds of options to people in other parts of the state," said supporter Jana Carlisle.

"Why would the taxpayers want to support a school that would pull off funding from local schools that are $2.5 billion underfunded?" said opponent Karl Johanson.

Opponents said we need to focus on improving all public schools, instead of using some of their funding to make separate schools that would not be available to all students. But supporters said it's a matter of civil rights because charter schools could help disadvantaged children obtain a better education. Under this initiative, charter schools would have the same academic standards as traditional public schools, but the charters would be exempt from most state statutes and rules that school districts must follow.