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

A wobbly calf grows into a 1,800-pound Lake Stevens behemoth

A shaggy and sometimes cranky bison is the last of his herd. He lives amid encroaching suburbia.

Elderly couple escape serious injuries in crash with train

The driver drove down tracks instead of a road, hitting a slow-moving train near Stanwood.

Officials ID man shot and killed in apparent Everett robbery

Police believe the victim may have known the shooter, who drove away before the officers arrived.

Man, 60, in critical condition after Bothell crash

Police believe the driver may have been speeding when he hit a rock wall.

Missing Marysville woman found safe out of state

A Marysville senior who was reported missing in March has… Continue reading

FBI operation arrests 3 linked to exploitation of 32 women

The sting focused on Everett and other cities in Snohomish, King, Pierce, Skagit and Spokane counties.

Front Porch

EVENTS Seahawks event postponed A Toys for Tots Blue Friday fundraiser that… Continue reading

Fire crew returns early from wildfires in Northern California

Four Everett firefighters returned from battling California wildfires late Thursday… Continue reading

5-vehicle collision sends school bus into ditch; no injuries

No students were hurt when a school bus crashed into… Continue reading

Most Read