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

Herald photos of the week

The latest collection of top images by Herald photographers.

New support group for those whose loved ones battle opioids

“I remember when my dad told me that every time our family member relapses, we relapse.”

Final feedback of future of Marysville’s schools

Officials now begin to prepare recommendations on high school reconfiguration and other issues.

Cougs beat Dawgs — and the Hawks

WSU boasts the No. 1 specialty license plate, and the money that comes with it.

Man pleads guilty to assault in Christmas Eve stabbing at mall

“Good Samaritan” who tried to break up fight ended up hospitalized with a knife wound to his back.

Panel tackles question of IDing who could be next mass shooter

Lawmakers want the group’s analysis to cover a lot of ground.

Waiting lists and growing demand for low-income preschools

There will be 1,000 more spots opening in the state next school year — far fewer than needed.

Snohomish County PUD general manager and CEO to retire

Craig Collar, 54, who will return to Montana, joined the utility as a senior manager in 2006.

Oak Harbor alum achieves top ROTC award

U.S. Army Private Jacob Nelson, an Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadet… Continue reading

Most Read