Pride Prep chosen as first charter school in Washington

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by MIKE GONZALEZ & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on January 23, 2014 at 8:28 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 23 at 3:04 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Spokane Public Schools decided on the first-ever charter school in the district and Washington state Wednesday night.  Three charters school applicants put in their bid but only one, Pride Prep, was chosen.

WATCH: Pioneer School leaders consider charter status

“We are honored to have been the first to authorize a charter school in the state of Washington,” said school board president Dr. Jeff Bierman. “This marks a significant day in expanding public educational options for our community, as well as the state.”

The former principal of Garry Middle School, Brenda McDonald, will be the first person to head the historic new charter school.

“We're very excited about the decision that was made tonight,” said McDonald.  “We're ecstatic that we'll be able to partner with Spokane Public Schools who provided really key leadership in bringing charter schools to Washington state.”

MORE: Judge rules Wash. charter schools can move forward

Pride Prep beat out two other charter applicants out of California.  The school will serve 6th through 12th grades and offer foreign language and advanced math and science classes squeezed into a nine-hour day.

McDonald said designing the school's concept was a team effort.

“We have some deep connections with some known charter schools across the country that are high quality and have amazing results,” she said.

McDonald knows there is little time to celebrate, however.  The next 15 months would be dedicated to putting the school together.

“As early as August and September, we'll start meeting with families and start recruiting and marketing,” said McDonald.

Pride Prep is scheduled to open for the 2015-2016 school year.  There is not yet a specific date on when students could apply.

WATCH: Charter school enjoying success in Coeur d’Alene
   
McDonald said the school’s organizers need to secure a building and start raising funds right away, because they are not eligible for state tax dollars until October of 2015.

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