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Sunnyside charter school group seeks supporters at forum

YAKIMA – A hearing will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 8, in Yakima by the Washington State Charter School Commission to learn more about the proposal from Charter Schools of Sunnyside to open a school in Sunnyside.

“We need as many supporters as possible to come to demonstrate to the commission our community’s desire for a charter school,” said Brittany Weaver of Charter Schools of Sunnyside.

“Because a charter school is governed by a non-profit organization made up of community members, business leaders and parents, it is imperative that the commission sees a large body of citizens who are willing to participate in the process of bringing this innovative education opportunity to fruition.”

The hearing will be at Perry Technical Institute starting at 6:30 p.m. It will feature a 10-minute presentation by Charter Schools of Sunnyside followed up by up to 30 minutes of public comment.

The forum in Yakima is one of nine being held across the state to hear directly from the 19 organizations that have applied to operate charter schools in the state. The forums are a part of the official evaluation process.

“Out of the 30-plus applicants who submitted letters of intent, we were pleased to be one of the 19 applicants who succeeded in completing the proposal by the deadline,” said Weaver. “Our proposal ended up totaling over 500 pages and includes details pertaining to the educational program, governance and management capacity, and our financial plan.”

The Washington State Charter School Commission said community members who wish to comment will be limited to two minutes each and will be randomly selected by lottery prior to the meeting.

Written comments, limited to one page of 12-point font, can be sent to the Washington State Charter School Commission, P.O. Box 40996 Olympia, WA 98504-0996.

Charter schools are independent public schools operated by non-profit organizations that are allowed more flexibility with educational programs yet are held accountable for improved student achievement.

Charter schools must adhere to the same state learning standards, accountability goals, health, safety and non-discrimination laws as public schools. Charter schools must hire certificated teachers, must follow generally accepted accounting principles and are subject to state financial audits. Charter schools are also free and open to all students.

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