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Supreme Court rules Washington charter schools unconstitutional

09/04/2015
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Washington Education Association news release, 9/4/15
Contact: Rich Wood, 253-376-1007

Supreme Court rules Washington charter schools are unconstitutional

Public school educators are applauding the Washington Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision ruling that the state’s charter school law is unconstitutional because charters siphon money from public schools and are not accountable to local voters.

The court ruled Washington’s entire charter school law is unconstitutional.

“The Supreme Court has affirmed what we’ve said all along – charter schools steal money from our existing classrooms, and voters have no say in how these charter schools spend taxpayer funding,” said Kim Mead, president of the Washington Education Association. 

Along with El Centro de la Raza, the Washington Association of School Administrators and the League of Women Voters, WEA is part of the coalition that challenged the charter school law.

The court ruled that charter schools do not meet the definition of “common schools” under the constitution because they are not subject to local voter control, and therefore the state cannot spend common school funding on charter schools.

“Under the Act, charter schools are devoid of local control from their inception to their daily operation,” the court wrote.

Mead said the court ruling is another reminder of the state Legislature’s failure to fully fund basic education as required by the state Constitution. The Supreme Court is currently fining the Legislature $100,000 a day for failing to develop a plan for fully funding K-12 education as required by the court’s McCleary decision.

“Instead of diverting taxpayer dollars to unaccountable charter schools, it’s time for the Legislature to fully fund K-12 public schools so that all of Washington’s children get the quality education the Constitution guarantees them,” Mead said.

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