12 districts interested in authorizing charter schools

SEATTLE (AP) - Twelve Washington school districts have announced plans to apply to become charter school authorizers.

They have until July 1 to complete their applications and send them to the State Board of Education. If approved, these districts could be among the boards approving Washington's first charter schools.

The districts are Battle Ground, Bellevue, Eastmont, Highline, Kent, Naselle, Peninsula, Port Townsend, Sequim, Spokane, Sunnyside and Tacoma.

The group is a mix of Washington's smallest and largest school districts.

Under the new charter law, a statewide panel also will be able to approve charters. The Washington Charter School Commission begins its work this week with a public meeting on Thursday in Olympia.

Voters in November approved an initiative that would bring charter schools to Washington. The first schools are expected to open in fall 2014.