Update on Charter Schools Bill
After dragging its feet for four years since the McCleary decision, the Senate took just over a week to pass a charters bill.
SB 6194, sponsored by Sen. Steve Litzow (R, 41st LD) was introduced in Committee on January 12th, moved to Ways and Means on the 19th and passed on the floor with one amendment on the 20th. The amendment transfers money from the General Fund into the lottery account, so that other programs funded by the lottery don’t get cut. During the floor debate, attorney and Sen. Jamie Pederson (D, 43rd LD) questioned the constitutionality of this amendment.
In passing the measure, Sen. Mark Mullet (D, 5th LD) stated, “I believe we have an obligation to more than 1,200 students attending charter schools to allow them to stay at the schools they have come to depend on to meet their educational needs.” He did not comment on the state’s obligation to the 1.1 million public school kids awaiting full funding under McCleary.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D, 37th LD) took up the issue, saying, “We can't substitute a solution on 1,200 kids in charter schools when we have not even begun to have a real discussion in this body about how we address the million kids around the state.” Senators on both sides of the aisle spoke against the bill.
WEA continues to oppose the effort to fund charter schools. It's especially egregious given that legislators are being held in contempt of court and are being fined $100,000 a day for failing to fully fund basic education for 1.1 million public school students.