Thursday, September 10, 2015

Washington Supreme Court expels charter schools from state public school system - Salon.com

Washington Supreme Court expels charter schools from state public school system - Salon.com:

Washington Supreme Court expels charter schools from state public school system

Charter school proponents are reeling in the wake of the court's landmark ruling

Washington Supreme Court expels charter schools from state public school system


This article originally appeared on AlterNet.
AlterNetThe charter school movement has been expelled from Washington state’s public education system, with a Supreme Court ruling late Friday that the privately run schools are not public schools under the state’s constitution. Meanwhile, the quick fix for that sizable hurdle sought by the state’s charter school proponents—a special legislative session—does not appear likely because Washington’s public education sector is embroiled in more controversial and larger battles.
As public schools open across Washington this week, teachers in the largest school district, Seattle, might strike for the first time in 30 years because of an unsettled contract. Other districts across Washington have been striking and settling recently. Also, since mid-August, Washington’s legislature has been fined $100,000 a day by the state Supreme Court for not producing a new school-funding plan. It had been held in contempt of court for missing prior deadlines.
“It is not practical to call a special session on a whim,” said Lisa Harper, a deputy spokesman for Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, referring to the charter community’s demands. Inslee opposed the 2012 ballot initiative creating charters and their looser regulatory framework that the Court cited, ruling they were not public schools because they were run by private boards.
There are 1 million public school students who deserve a more equitable funding formula, said Harper, highlighting the state’s biggest education issue. In contrast, 1,200 students have enrolled in Washington state’s charters, she said, even though charter supporters are a “vocal community.”
Charter school proponents have three options, all of them “long shots,” said Bill Keim, executive director of the Washington Association of School Administrators. The first would be asking the Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling. The parties have until September 24 to final that motion, before the court ruling becomes final.
The second option was a special legislative session. Third was asking local billionaire Bill Gates, one of the nation’s top charter school benefactors—spending at least $440 million—to write a check to keep the charters open until the legislature acts. “The downside is that would re-enforce that they are private schools,” Keim said.
For all these reasons, Washington’s charter schools face an uncertain future. That is not just because the state’s Supreme Court found they did not fit the constitutional definition of public schools, but because it also rejected the charter lobby’s top Washington Supreme Court expels charter schools from state public school system - Salon.com:

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