Legal action filed over charter law

  • By Donna Gordon Blankinship Associated Press
  • Wednesday, February 27, 2013 5:59pm
  • Local NewsNorthwest

SEATTLE — A coalition of educators and community groups filed a legal challenge with the state attorney general Wednesday questioning the constitutionality of Washington’s new charter schools law.

The three-page “legal demand” asks Attorney General Bob Ferguson to investigate seven constitutional issues with the law approved by voters in November.

Ferguson replied early Wednesday evening that he would follow the voters.

“We all share the desire to provide the highest quality education for our children. As the state’s attorney, it’s my responsibility to defend the will of the voters and I will be directing my legal team to do so in this case,” Ferguson said in a statement.

The coalition — led by the Washington Education Association, the League of Women Voters and El Centro del la Raza — said if the attorney general doesn’t take action, it will file a lawsuit in state courts. The group’s issues range from the way the law would divert money from public schools to private nonprofit organizations, to a perceived violation of the requirement that the superintendent of public instruction should supervise everything related to public schools.

They question the way levy dollars could be converted to a new purpose without consulting voters if a regular public school is converted to a charter school, as is allowed under the new law.

The group, which includes the state’s largest teachers union, doesn’t like a provision of the new law that restricts collective bargaining units of charter school employees to the school in which they work.

“The Charter School Act is an unconstitutional law that impedes the state’s progress toward fully funding public education and places even greater pressure on school districts to fill this gap,” the coalition’s letter said.

Washington became the 42nd state to OK independent public schools in November. Voters authorized the opening of up to 40 charter schools over five years.

The new law sets up a Charter School Commission to authorize groups to open charter schools and puts the State Board of Education in charge of approving applications by local school districts that also want to authorize charter schools.

More in Local News

Lake Stevens man shot by deputies reportedly was suicidal

The fatal shooting is the latest incident where someone apparently wanted police to fire.

Man suspected of robbing Rite Aids

Mill Creek police released a sketch Monday evening of the suspect.

Teen charged with murder in shooting over car

A Lynnwood teen has been charged with second-degree murder for… Continue reading

Police looking for Lynnwood bank robber

The robber did not flash a weapon to the teller at a U.S. Bank.

Here’s how much property taxes will rise to pay for schools

The owner of a $350,000 home is looking at a property-tax hike of nearly $300 this year.

Everett man accused of causing his baby’s brain damage

He told police he shook his son to get him to stop crying, and the boy slipped out of his hands.

At one point she dropped out; now she’s graduation-bound

Anita Bradford-Diaz has had her share of setbacks, but they only seem to increase her motivation.

Mayor, others break ground on low-barrier housing in Everett

Somers: The complex is expected to save lives and “really shows the heart of this community.”

Employee threats caused lockdown at Arlington elementary

Arlington Police said all students and staff were.

Most Read