First Place Scholars, which has operated as a private school for 25 years, has reopened as Washington State’s first charter school, the Seattle Times reported. The K-5 school, which serves homeless students, previously relied on donations and will now have access to public funds. “A lot is riding on their success for the whole state,” David Bley of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation told the Times.
The foundation has donated more than $7 million to support charter schools in the state. Washington’s charter school law passed in 2012 through a referendum after being voted down three times in the past. A legal challenge is pending and expected to go to the state’s Supreme Court in October.
There are now only eight states without a charter school law.