Monday, December 17, 2012

Want to Apply to Be On the Charter Commission?

Here's how via the three possibilities - Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House.  Each office gets to pick three Charter Commission members. 

Governor Gregoire's office is taking the applications via their regular commissions form.  They are then going to pass them along to Governor-elect Inslee's office and he will make the decisions.   I was told both offices have received calls of interest about applying.

Lt. Governor Brad Owen
His office is taking nominations via e-mail and snail mail.   You do not have to fill out an application and you can self-nominate OR any other person or group may nominate you.  (Apparently Stand for Children has been sending in their nominations.)   If you are nominated in any way, their office will give that due consideration. 


Lt. Gov. Brad Owen
Office of the Lt. Governor
PO Box 40400
Olympia, WA 98504-0400 

Speaker Frank Chopp
I am still finding out how to apply via his office and will be able to update this thread with that information by the end of the week.

All three offices know that there are geographic and political issues to selecting Charter Commission members.  As well, I'm sure they will be making considerations based on racial background, gender and finding diversity via association (i.e. business, education, community, etc.) One must be a parent of a Washington public school student (which means in the future that parent could be a charter school parent and I suspect this round will see the first and only parent of a student in a traditional public school.)

You might consider who you would like to see on the Charter Commission and how important it is to ALL taxpayers to strive for some degree of diversity and objectivity on the Commission.  

What does I-1240 say about Charter Commission members?

- The commission shall, through its management, supervision, and enforcement of the charter contracts, administer the portion of the public common school system consisting of the charter schools it authorizes as provided in this chapter, in the same manner as a school district board of directors, through its management, supervision, and enforcement of the charter contracts, and pursuant to applicable law, administers the charter schools it authorizes.

- No more than five members can be of the same political party.  (But it doesn't say all nine members have to be Dems and Republicans - it would be good to see some Independents or Green Party members, for example, on the Commission.)

-   Members appointed to the commission shall collectively possess strong experience and expertise in public and nonprofit governance; management and finance; public school leadership, assessment,
curriculum, and instruction; and public education law.  All members shall have demonstrated an understanding of and commitment to charter schooling as a strategy for strengthening public education. (Note: there is no way to enforce this "... commitment to charter schooling..." and I have a feeling that none of the three people making the selections will themselves commit to this strategy.)

- Members shall be appointed to four-year, staggered terms, with initial appointments from each of the appointing authorities consisting of one member appointed to a one-year term, one member
appointed to a two-year term, and one member appointed to a three-year term, all of whom thereafter may be reappointed for a four-year term. 
No member may serve more than two consecutive terms.  Initial appointments must be made no later than ninety days after the effective date of this section.  (Note: the clock started ticking December 6th so that means the appointments must be made by March 6th, 20123.)

- Whenever a vacancy on the commission exists, the original appointing authority must appoint a member for the remaining portion of the term within no more than thirty days.

- Commission members shall serve without compensation but may be reimbursed for travel expenses as authorized in RCW 43.03.050 and 43.03.060.

-  (7) Operational and staff support for the commission shall be provided by the office of the governor until the commission has sufficient resources to hire or contract for separate staff support,
who shall reside within the office of the governor for administrative purposes only.  (Note that "administrative purposes" mention.  The Yes side said repeatedly during the campaign that any office housed in the Governor's office would have the Governor's oversight.  No, they won't.)

- Also to note, Sections 209 and 212 of I-1240 do NOT apply to the Charter Commission.

Section 209 concerns oversight by the Board of Education on what an authorizer needs to do to be an authorizer.  This means the vetting for the Charter Commission is different from the vetting for any school board that wishes to become an authorizer.

This point is troubling because there is nothing in I-1240 to direct the Charter Commission as to how they do their work and, more importantly, their thinking on picking charter applications.  School Boards have to have a strategic vision, a plan to support that vision, how the board will solicit application, etc.   Both kinds of authorizers have to follow I-1240 guidelines for the minimum of what is in a charter application (section 213). 

Section 212 is about oversight of authorizers.   Since Section 212 does not apply to the Charter Commission that means the Charter Commission has no oversight at all of their work by an elected official or other citizen.   They basically operate unfettered.

There is no removal mechanism for a Charter Commission member in I-1240.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Important info for important work/responsibility - thank you for posting this!