Washington state's Supreme Court ruled on Friday that charter schools are "unconstitutional," overturning a 2012 law that allowed publicly funded but privately operated schools. The court deliberated for a year before issuing its findings, which state:
"We hold that the provisions of I-1240 [the Charter School Act] that designate and treat charter schools as common schools violate article IX, section 2 of our state constitution and are void. This includes the Act's funding provisions, which attempt to tap into and shift a portion of moneys allocated for common schools to the new charter schools authorized by the Act."
Washington has eight charter schools opening this fall, including three in the Seattle area, three in Tacoma, two in Spokane. Most of them began classes during August. (The state's first charter school opened in Seattle last year.) All told about 1,000 students are attending the charter schools.
The ruling won't become final for 20 days, during which time parties to the case (including the Washington State Charter School Association) can ask the court to reconsider.
Those cheering the court's decision were the Washington Education Association, the League of Women Voters of Washington, El Centro de la Raza, the Washington Association of School Administrators and several individual plaintiffs.