Suit over charter school law

SEATTLE — A coalition of parents, educators and community groups filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court on Wednesday challenging the constitutionality of Washington’s new charter schools law.

The complaint filed Wednesday argues the new law violates the state Constitution by diverting public school dollars to private organizations that are not subject to voter control. And it contends the charter schools law gets in the way of the state’s constitutional obligation to pay for public schools.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the state teachers union, a group that represents Washington school administrators, the League of Women Voters, El Centro de la Raza and several parents, children and school advocates.

They are asking the court to prevent further implementation of the new law passed in November and to declare it unconstitutional.

The group had previously filed a complaint with the Washington attorney general in February asking him to investigate seven constitutional issues with the new law.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson replied 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 at that time.

One of the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed Wednesday called the charter school law a threat to the state’s public school system.

“Not only does it divert already deficient state funds from public schools to private organizations, it also exempts those private organizations from many of the standards that are in place to ensure that all children receive an adequate education,” said Wayne Au, an educator and education advocate, in a statement.

Among the issues raised in the lawsuit is that it violates the “general and uniform” provision of the Constitution because charter schools would not be subject to all the laws and regulations other public schools have to follow.

The complaint also has a problem with the superintendent of public instruction not supervising charter schools because his job is outlined in the state Constitution.

It also says the new law violates the Constitution because of the way local voter-approved school levy dollars can be transferred to charter schools in certain circumstances.

More in Local News

Load up: Cheesecake Factory plans Lynnwood location

The chain restaurant is listed as a tenant in new development at Alderwood mall.

Sound Transit funding splits lawmakers trying to cut car tab fees

With the legislative session set to end March 8, pressure is building for action.

What to do when you get pulled over

Don’t forget to be considerate so officers will know you are not a threat to their safety.

Suspected drunk driver crash in Bothell sends two to hospital

The man suspected of causing the Saturday afternoon collision was not injured.

Finalists for EdCC presidency holding campus meetings

A search committee reviewed 19 applicants and recommended three finalists to the Board of Trustees.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Everett coaches reaching out to teens about dating violence

Free training focuses on a known strength of coaches: Being positive role models.

Scattered power outages around region after gusty Saturday

Up to 2 inches of snow could fall in some lowland areas of Snohomish County, forecasters said.

Power outages hit north Snohomish County as snow covers area

There was no timeline for when PUD crews expected to restore power for 5,800 customers.

Most Read