Washington Charters Still Breathing

Policy and Government

Washington Charters Still Breathing

Sep 9, 2015

WE'RE STILL STANDING: Washington state's charter schools are still breathing in spite of a ruling last week by the state's Supreme Court that charter schools are "unconstitutional." That's because philanthropists and parents are promising to raise the $14 million needed to keep nine schools operating throughout this school year, according to the Seattle Times.

The Washington court overturning a 2012 law that allowed publicly funded but privately operated schools. The court deliberated for a year before issuing its findings, which in part 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.) More than 1,200 students are attending the charter schools.

The ruling is likely to be appealed before it becomes final, something slated to happen in October. Even so the Washington State Charter School Commission said this week that it would begin to wrap up its organization.

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