Impact Public Schools recently purchased the SGI-USA Buddhist Center in Tukwila, where it plans to open its first charter school next year. HEIDI SANDERS, Tukwila Reporter

Impact Public Schools recently purchased the SGI-USA Buddhist Center in Tukwila, where it plans to open its first charter school next year. HEIDI SANDERS, Tukwila Reporter

Impact Public Schools to open charter school in Tukwila next year

Impact Puget Sound Elementary will open next fall in SGI-USA Seattle Buddhist Center building.

Impact Public Schools recently purchased a property in Tukwila where it plans to open its first charter school next year.

Impact Puget Sound Elementary, 3438 S. 148th St., will begin serving 168 kindergarten and first-graders in August. A grade will be added each year until the school serves students through fifth grade.

Impact closed on the SGI-USA Seattle Buddhist Center on Nov. 2, Impact’s co-founder and CEO Jen Wickens said.

“We own the building now,” Wickens said. “They (the Buddhist center) will lease it from us until May. In May, we will start construction on the site.”

Additions will be made to the building and a large open space will be converted into 10 classrooms, Wickens said.

Impact raised money to purchase the facility, but once up and running, the school will be sustainable through state and federal funding, Wickens said.

Washington voters approved the creation of charter schools in 2012. Charter schools are independent public schools operated by nonprofit organizations that are allowed more flexibility to be innovative with their educational program and are held accountable for improved student achievement.

Most of the charter schools in the Puget Sound area serve middle and high school students.

“Families at Summit schools (in Seattle) were really wanting options at the early grades,” Wickens said.

Impact Puget Sound Elementary is the first of four schools Impact plans to open in the area.

While it will be in Tukwila, Wickens hopes the school will become a part of the larger community.

“We want to be an option for families across the Puget Sound,” she said.

The school will provide free transportation for students and free before and afterschool care, as well as special education services. A park at the school will be available for community use in the evenings and on weekends.

Enrollment for the 2018-19 school year is underway. Wickens said about 60 families have already applied.

If more than the allotted amount of students apply, Impact will have a lottery on Nov. 30.

For more information about Impact Public Schools or to apply, visit impactps.org.

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