Washington’s Charter Shell Game and Another Lawsuit

justiceThe League is in a new lawsuit in the state of Washington.  Charters were approved by the voters in 2012, but the League of Women Voters called the move unconstitutional.  The Charter School Case filed by the League et al in 2013 was appealed all the way to the state’s Supreme Court.  In 2015, the Court ruled that charter schools violated the Washington constitution.  Charters were not public schools.  In order for the legislature to fund charters, they must be governed by elected school boards, and of course, they were not.

The  legislature was not deterred.

They passed a bill six months later to use lottery funding to keep the charters open. Now the League and the other plaintiffs have filed a new lawsuit against the use of lottery funds.  Since lottery revenue is not part of the state’s general fund, the legislature argues that the move avoids the constitutional prohibition against using state funding for schools that are not ‘common schools’ or those governed by elected school boards.

The State now has eight charters, but the new legislation would allow a total of 40.  As a gesture toward transparency, the Charter School Commission and charter board members will have to file personal financial statements.

The likelihood is that the new legislation will not stand the constitutional test, and the shell game will fail, so the next step would be to amend the constitution.





Posted in Charter School Management, Charter Schools, Constitutionality, Lawsuits, Legislation, Washington State.


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