Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Washington State Charters Vow to Remain Open Via Private Funding | deutsch29

Washington State Charters Vow to Remain Open Via Private Funding | deutsch29:

Washington State Charters Vow to Remain Open Via Private Funding

On September 04, 2015, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in League of Women Voters vs. State of Washington that charter schools are unconstitutional in Washington State.
The majority opinion centered upon the fact that the voter-approved Charter School Act of 2012 (I-1240) would have allowed for the creation of up to 40 charter schools within five years– and would have been financed using public funds but without oversight by a publicly-elected board:
…Because charter schools under 1-1240 are run by an appointed board or nonprofit organization and thus are not subject to local voter control, they cannot qualify as “common schools” within the meaning of article IX [of the Washington State Constitution].
…Charter schools do not qualify as common [public] schools.
Moreover, the majority opinion noted that charter schools in Washington State are not eligible for funding from the general fund, and since the Act hinges upon public school funding as its funding source, the Court declared the entire Act unconstitutional:
The [Charter School] Act unconstitutionally reallocates these restricted funds to charter schools, which do not qualify as common schools.
Compounding this problem, the State does not segregate constitutionally restricted moneys from other state funds. Nor can it demonstrate that these restricted moneys are protected from being spent on charter schools. Given this absence of segregation and accountability, we find unconvincing the State’s view that charter schools may be constitutionally funded through the general fund. Historically, the state common school funds were maintained in a separate public school account and distributed to the common schools by the Superintendent. … While some other constitutionally restricted state funds continue to be maintained in separate accounts (e.g., common school construction fund…), since at least 1967, the constitutionally restricted common school property levy revenues have been deposited in the State’s “general fund,” which is used for the basic education allocation. … There is no way to track the restricted common school funds or to ensure that these dollars are used exclusively to support the common schools. …
We also disagree with the State’s view that the Act’s remaining provisions are saved because funding “follows the student” and in any event charter schools could be funded out of the state general fund. … The fact that public school money distributions are generally based on per capita student attendance does not mean that common school funds are available for students who do not attend common schools. Where a child is not attending a common school, there can be no entitlement to “an apportionment of the current state school fund, to a credit predicated on attendance of children at such … school.” …
Further, as discussed above, the Act designates and relies on common school funds as its funding source. Without those funds, the Act cannot function as intended. …
The portions of I-1240 designating charter schools as common schools violate article IX, section 2 of the Washington Constitution and are invalid. For the same reason, the portions of I-1240 providing access to restricted common school funding are also invalid. These provisions are not severable and render the entire Act unconstitutional.
Thus, the nine charter schools in Washington State in 2015-16 will almost certainly Washington State Charters Vow to Remain Open Via Private Funding | deutsch29: