What other states have had charter school referendums?

Thanks to Jim Galloway, we learned that charter school proponents say “No other state has had a positive outcome for a charter-positive ballot initiative.” OK, what other states have had any sort of charter school referendums? Such ballot initiatives have at least been tried in Massachusetts, Michigan, and Washington.

BallotPedia records some state charter school referendums.


In Massachusetts, charter school proponents couldn’t even get enough signatures to put a pro-charter school referendum on the ballot this year.

The measure would have removed limits on number of charter schools, their funding, and enrollment. Other changes would have been made in laws that governed charter schools, including requiring approval of qualified applications for charter schools to be in districts where there was low student performance.


In Michigan, a referendum to ban for-profit charter schools may be on the ballot in November:

According to reports, the proposal was introduced in response to a bill passed by the Senate in October 2011 that would lift the cap on the number of charter schools in the state. That bill passed 20-18 in the Senate and is currently in the education committee of the Michigan House.

That sounds just like what’s already happened here in Georgia.


In Washington State, a pro-charter school referendum was defeated in 2004 by 58.3% to 41.7%. This might have had something to do with why:

The estimated fiscal impact of R-55 as estimated by the Washington Office of Financial Management was:

“Referendum 55 would authorize creation of charter public schools by local school districts or, through an appeals process, the state Superintendent of Public Instruction. State education spending would increase $14.0 million over five years, primarily the result of new students entering the public school system to attend charter schools. State funding for charter public schools would be provided in the same manner as other public schools. As students already enrolled in the public school system move to charter schools, student instructional and other costs would shift and associated state revenue would be reallocated. District-sponsored schools also would receive local revenue.”


Does what’s happening in Washington sound familiar? It should, except in Georgia extra funding per student above what public schools get would come out of local sales and property taxes. No wonder many of the same people who pushed T-SPLOST are now pushing this charter school referendum! It looks like they’re telling the truth about at least one thing, on at least their own internal organizational slides: apparently no other state has had a successful pro-charter-school referendum, and back in 2004 one was soundly defeated in Washington state.

Let’s not be the first state to fall for siphoning funds from public education into private for-profit charter schools dictated by an unappointed state committee. Vote No on the charter school referendum in November.