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2012 Washington Initiative 1240

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Initiative 1240
A measure establishing a public charter school system not to exceed forty schools over the next five years.
Votes %
Yes 1,525,807 50.69%
No 1,484,125 49.31%
Valid votes 3,009,932 100.00%
Invalid or blank votes 0 0.00%
Total votes 3,009,932 100.00%

Precinct results

Washington Initiative 1240 "concerns creation of a public charter school system" was an initiative that appeared on the Washington state general ballot in November 2012. Originally filed with the Washington Secretary of State on May 31, proponents and paid signature gatherers collected enough signatures to be certified for the ballot on July 25, making it one of the fastest initiatives ever to do so, at an estimated cost of more than $6 per signature.[1][2][3] Proposed charter schools would receive public funding but not be governed by local school districts. An August 2012 financial impact study by the state Office of Financial Management estimated "an indeterminate, but non-zero, fiscal impact to local public school districts" and "known state agency implementation costs" of at least $3 million in the first five years.[4] The initiative was approved by voters in November 2012.[5]

Ballot measure title and summary


The full text of the measure is available online.[6]

Language describing I-1240 was challenged in court.[7][8] As described by the Secretary of State's office, I-1240 "would authorize up to forty publicly-funded charter schools open to all students, operated through approved, nonreligious, nonprofit organizations, with government oversight; and modify certain laws applicable to them as public schools."[9]

This measure would allow a newly-created state commission or approved local school boards to authorize qualifying nonreligious, nonprofit organizations to operate public charter schools, limited to forty schools over five years. Public charter schools would receive standard per-student public school funding and be open to all students without tuition. Public charter schools would be subject to teacher certification requirements, government oversight, and performance reporting requirements, but exempt from certain state laws and school district policies.

Support and Opposition


Washington voters previously rejected charter school measures. Beginning with I-177 in 1996,[10] then I-729 in 2000[11] and Referendum 55 in 2004.[12] Each of these proposals was brought forward by a few wealthy individuals and actively opposed by public school teachers, administrators and parent groups. Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna supports the measure, with democratic opponent Jay Inslee opposed.[13] As per RCW 42.17A on "campaign disclosure and contribution," the Washington state Public Disclosure Commission posts campaign information online, including committee and donor information for referendums and initiatives[14] As of August, 2012, PDC records show proponents of I-1240 with a nearly 50:1 fundraising advantage.

Statements for and against each ballot measure are available online as part of the official online voter's guide.[15]



The registered sponsor for the initiative was the League of Education Voters. I-1240 campaign was funded partly by a "handful" of Puget Sound area billionaires, including Bill Gates, Paul Allen and the parents of Jeff Bezos.[3][16][17] Alice Walton was also among the top five contributors.[18][19] The measure was also endorsed by Stand for Children.[20]



The League of Women Voters of Washington opposed the measure,[21] as did the Washington Education Association[22] and the Washington Association of School Administrators.[23] The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has been opposed to all charter schools since 2010,[24] and, although the National Parent Teacher Association conditionally supports charter schools, the Washington State PTA opposed I-1240 for not meeting "criteria for local oversight."[25][26] A variety of Democratic organizations and officials oppose I-1240.[27]

Election results


Voters approved Initiative 1240 at the ballot box. The statewide vote to approve the measure was 50.69%; the vote to reject was 49.31%.

See also



  1. ^ Smith, Erik (June 20, 2012). "I-1240 May Not Tie Record After All – 1973 Initiative Likely Always to be the Fastest Signature Drive in State History". Washington State Wire. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  2. ^ Rosenthal, Brian M. (July 13, 2012). "Wealthy throwing money at charter-schools initiative". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Westneat, Danny (August 21, 2012). "Out-of-state money chooses what we vote on". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  4. ^ "OFM Fiscal Impact Statement (I-1240)" (PDF). Washington State Office of Fiscal Management. August 10, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  5. ^ WA Board of Ed to draft rules for charter schools, NWCN.com January 9, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-24
  6. ^ Reed, Sam (May 31, 2012). "Initiative Measure No. 1240" (PDF). Washington State Secretary of State. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  7. ^ Callaghan, Peter (June 14, 2012). "Washington Education Association objects to ballot title on proposed charter school Initiative 1240". Political Buzz. The News-Tribune. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  8. ^ Shannon, Brad (June 15, 2012). "UPDATE - Judge OK's ballot for I-1240 (charter schools)". The Olympian. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  9. ^ Reed, Sam. "Proposed Initiatives to the People - 2012". Washington State Secretary of State. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  10. ^ "Elections Search Results, November 1996 General". Washington State Secretary of State. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  11. ^ "Elections Search Results, November 2000 General". Washington State Secretary of State. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  12. ^ "2004 General Election > Measures". Washington State Secretary of State. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  13. ^ Gordon Blankinship, Donna (May 30, 2012). "Gubernatorial candidates Inslee, McKenna differ on education plans". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  14. ^ "Continuing Political Committees". Public Disclosure Commission. 2012. Archived from the original on September 7, 2013. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  15. ^ "Online Voter's Guide". Washington State Secretary of State. 2012. Archived from the original on March 29, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
  16. ^ Rosenthal, Brian M. (June 14, 2012). "Well-funded charter-school initiative has nearly enough signatures to make ballot". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  17. ^ Gill, Kathy (July 26, 2012). "Charter Schools Initiative 1240 bankrolled by tech millionaires". UW Election Eye 2012. The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  18. ^ "Key Facts about I-1240: The Washington Public Charter Schools Initiative" (PDF). Washington Coalition for Public Charter Schools. August 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  19. ^ Rosenthal, Brian M. (July 17, 2012). "Latest big gift to charter schools initiative: $600,000 from Wal-Mart heiress". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  20. ^ "2012 Election Endorsements". Stand for Children. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  21. ^ Ahl, Catherine Ahl (Summer 2012). "Why the League of Women Voters of WA Opposes I1240, Public Charter Schools" (PDF). LWV Voter. League of Women Voters of Washington. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  22. ^ "Charter Schools, No on I-1240". Washington Education Association. August 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  23. ^ "Washington Association of School Administrators Opposes Initiative 1240" (PDF). Washington Association of School Administrators. July 26, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  24. ^ "Resolution on Charter Schools" (PDF). National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. October 15, 2010. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  25. ^ WSPTA Board of Directors (August 11, 2012). "WSPTA opposes charter school initiative". Grassroots Connection. Washington State PTA. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  26. ^ Rosenthal, Brian M. (August 11, 2012). "Washington PTA announces opposition to charter school initiative". Politics Northwest. The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  27. ^ Maxwell, Marcie (July 21, 2012). "21 reasons to oppose charter schools, Initiative 1240". The Stand. Retrieved August 17, 2012.