Charter schools and Initiative 522 | Views

We’re learning this week where Washington’s first charter schools may open in 2014 and who may operate them. This much is certain: No one wants to do it in Snohomish County.

We’re learning this week where Washington’s first charter schools may open in 2014 and who may operate them.

This much is certain: No one wants to do it in Snohomish County.

Nonprofit organizations had until Tuesday to let the Washington Charter School Commission know if they intend to apply to run one of these publicly funded campuses. Full applications are due in a month.

Of the nearly two dozen letters of intent received, none proposed pursuing this new venture in education in the state’s third largest county.

Rather, there’s interest in converting a small private school in Spokane Valley and launching a military academy for middle- and high-school aged students in Grays Harbor, Mason and Thurston counties.

In Yakima, there’s one group designing a dual language — English and Spanish — elementary school and another proposing a campus with a curriculum focused on preparing at-risk high schoolers for college. There also are people wanting charter schools in Enumclaw, Toppenish, Sunnyside.

Professional charter school management outfits want in as well with firms looking to bring their brand of educating to elementary and secondary students in Seattle and Tacoma starting in 2015.

The applications due Nov. 22 must detail the proposed curriculum, budget, and staffing as well as provide background on those who will serve on the school’s board of directors.

Commissioners won’t green light any charter schools until February but it’s clear today that Snohomish County won’t be home for any of them.

What a difference $14.3 million can make.

Foes of Initiative 522 have spent that much so far attacking the food labeling initiative and it is paying off.

The latest Elway Poll found the measure has lost nearly one-third of its support in the past month. That is when the No on 522 committee began airing television commercials and mailing out literature on the purported warts of the measure requiring labels on foods containing genetically modified ingredients.

I-522 is leading 46 percent to 42 percent with 12 percent undecided in the survey of 413 registered voters conducted Oct. 15-17 by Seattle pollster Stuart Elway.

That’s a big tumble from mid-September when Elway found 66 percent of voters endorsed the initiative and only 21 percent opposed.

Not surprisingly, advertising is changing people’s minds.

Three out of four voters who had seen only ads for one side or the other planned to vote in the direction of the ads they have seen, he wrote in an analysis of the results.

“Those who have seen no advertising planned to vote ‘yes’ by a 17-point margin — about the same margin the ‘yes’ side had before the advertising blitz began,” Elway wrote.

For the Yes on 522 committee — which has spent $5.4 million — the silver lining is that the measure is still ahead.

And Elway says history favors them winning, too.

Since 1992, 17 of 22 initiatives which had support above 60 percent in Elway polls conducted in September wound up winning.

“Momentum is on the side of I-522 opponents, but history is on the side of proponents,” he wrote.

Political reporter Jerry Cornfield’s blog, The Petri Dish, is at www.heraldnet.com. Contact him at 360-352-8623 or jcornfield@heraldnet.com.

More in Opinion

Eyman risking retirement funds on car tab initiative

Will the $500,000 investment be enough to get the initiative on a ballot?

U.S. isn’t the only nation flirting with trade wars

There’s another brewing between Alberta and British Columbia.

I wish I could stay in Enumclaw | Guest Columnist

There is a kindness and decency and desire to be a community in Enumclaw.

We live in frightening times

Our country is being torn apart from limb to limb, coast to coast.

Voting habits tied to feelings of security

The dangers of authoritarianism are a far greater threat to the nation than seeing rising racial equality and religious diversity brought about by immigration.

Prepared in all ways but the one that mattered

We need to change the way we think about rape.

Please help the Sumner Food Bank

We have a need for a walk-in freezer with a capacity of approximately 700 cubic feet.

Watch for deer when driving

Two have been killed in Bonney Lake in the past month.

Teachers seeking pay raise; districts resist

They’re talking 15 percent for all certificated staff and 37 percent for the classified education support professionals they represent.

Election tampering anger could unite county’s voters

Having a common enemy is an effective means to cover over differences between political ideologies and unite the nation against a common foe.

Thank you for the fun holiday contests

And I would also like to thank Olsens Meats for supplying the corned beef and ham for the winners.

Thanks for an awesome bingo night

Byron Kibler PTA would like to thank the following local businesses (in… Continue reading