Charter schools campaign aims for WA ballot - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Charter schools campaign aims for WA ballot

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SEATTLE (AP)-  Supporters of charter schools are confident they have turned in enough signatures on petitions Friday to put the initiative on the November ballot in Washington.

Using paid and unpaid signature gatherers, they turned in about 350,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's office on Friday morning. A ballot initiative needs about 242,000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Washington voters have rejected charter schools three previous times, in 1996, 2000 and 2004. The state's largest teacher's union says the privately-run, publicly funded charter schools take money away from traditional public schools and have not been shown to do a better job at improving student achievement.

Supporters of Initiative 1240 say, let parents decide. The initiative would start out slow, with a maximum of 40 charter schools over five years. It would only allow nonprofit operators and it prioritizes proposals to serve economically and academically disadvantaged students.