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

At long last, a church of his own

After years of filling in elsewhere, Hallack Greider is the new pastor at Maplewood Presbyterian.

Judge: Lawmakers’ emails, texts subject to public disclosure

News organizations had sued to challenge the Legislature’s claim that members were exempt.

Herald photos of the week

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

Outgoing councilwoman honored by Marysville Fire District

The Marysville Fire District in December honored outgoing City Councilwoman Donna Wright… Continue reading

Everett district relents on eminent domain moving expenses

Homeowners near Bothell still must be out by April to make way for a planned new high school.

Their grown children died, but state law won’t let them sue

Families are seeking a change in the state’s limiting wrongful-death law.

Officials rule train-pedestrian death an accident

The 37-year-old man was trying to move off the tracks when the train hit him, police say.

Number of flu-related deaths in county continues to grow

Statewide, 86 people have died from the flu, most of whom were 65 or older.

Ex-Monroe cop re-arrested after losing sex crime case appeal

He was sentenced to 14 months in prison but was free while trying to get his conviction overturned.

Most Read