How charter and tribal schools fare under public audit

May 3, 2022

Just like established public schools, charter and tribal schools are subject to public audit. In the 2020-21 school year, Washington's charter and tribal schools served more than 5,600 students. SAO audits the public funding that each type of school receives.

Recent audits of tribal schools have found that they keep records to support revenue and expenditures, and that they have quickly implemented audit recommendations.

Charter schools in Washington began serving students in the 2014-15 school year. Recent audits of charter schools have found that school personnel are still learning about Washington's legal requirements. Seven new charter schools have opened for the 2021-22 school year. Based on SAO audits, some key areas of continued focus for the charter schools include:

  • Documenting and reporting requirements for student enrollment
  • Keeping straightforward records to show schools are separating public and private transactions and maintaining supporting documentation
  • Identifying public assets and tracking them
  • Following meeting requirements under the Open Public Meetings Act, including maintaining meeting minutes, and approving expenditures in a timely manner
  • Employing Washington certificated instructors and ensuring they are keeping their certifications current

SAO continues to encourage charter schools to work closely with their authorizer to ensure they comply with their charter contracts and receive relevant guidance to comply with Washington laws.

CHARTER SCHOOLS, AT A GLANCE: 2020-21 school year: 12 charter schools served 3,640 students

School locations Location Grades Students
Green Dot Rainier Valley Leadership Academy Seattle 6th – 11th 164
PRIDE Prep Spokane 6th – 12th 704
Rainier Prep Seattle 5th – 8th 344
Spokane International Academy Spokane K – 8th 599
Summit Schools Olympus Tacoma 9th – 12th 196
Summit Schools Sierra Seattle 9th – 12th 375
Summit Schools Atlas Seattle 6th – 12th 465
Innovation (Willow) Public Schools Walla Walla 6th – 8th 56
Impact Public Schools-Puget Sound Elementary Tukwila K – 3rd 409
Impact Public Schools-Salish Sea Elementary Seattle K – 1st 125
Lumen High School Spokane 9th – 12th 37
Catalyst Public Schools Bremerton K – 1st, 5th – 6th 166

TRIBAL SCHOOLS, AT A GLANCE: 2020-21 school year: 7 tribal schools served 1,997 students

School locations Location Grades Students
Chief Kitsap Academy Suquamish Tribe, Suquamish 6th – 12th 89
Chief Leschi Schools Puyallup Tribe, Puyallup K -12th 556
Lummi Nation Schools Lummi Nation, Bellingham K – 12th 398
Muckleshoot Tribal School Muckleshoot Tribe, Auburn K – 12th 556
Quileute Tribal School Quileute Tribe, La Push K – 12th 130
Wa He Lut Indian School Olympia K – 8th 140
Yakama Nation Tribal School Yakama Nation, Toppenish 8th – 12th 128