Today the Washington State Senate passed Senate Bill 5496, which gives private schools the same ability to offer online school programs as public schools. The bill would help schools like Centralia Christian School and St. Joseph Catholic School, in the 20th Legislative District represented by Sen. John Braun.
“Right now public schools have the ability to provide online programs through the 12th grade. This bill would grant private schools in Washington state the same capability,” said Braun, R-Centralia. “Parents should have choices regarding their children’s education, and this bill allows more options.”
Parents in rural areas with transportation issues will also benefit from the bill. “There are families living in rural areas of my district who would like to send their kids to private school, but do not have enough time to travel great distances to the school every day. This bill gives them the option of placing their children in a private school through an online curriculum,” Braun said.
The bill removes all of the obstacles currently facing private schools and will help more than 100,000 private or homeschooled students in Washington.
“The more alternatives we offer students, the better our society is,” said Dr. Gary Udd, Principal of St. Joseph Catholic School. “There is more than one way to learn. Sitting in a classroom for an hour is perfectly fine for most students, but not for all. I am very supportive of this bill.”
Some private schools have suggested they may be able to lower tuition by offering these online school programs.
“This is an example of a bill that helps our education system without costing the state any money,” said Braun. “It is a true win for parents, schools and above all else, our children.”
The bill passed the Senate with a unanimous vote.