A network of donors will step up if necessary to keep Washington state's
nine charter schools open through the school year, a leading charter
advocate said Tuesday, even if public dollars stop flowing in the wake
of a state Supreme Court decision voiding Washington's charter school law.
Tom Franta, who heads the Washington State Charter Schools Association,
said his organization has reached out to a network of something like 50
donors — whom Franta declined to identify — that can help cover the
estimated $14 million necessary to cover all nine schools' operating
costs through the end of the year.
Here's some remaining mysteries:
- First Place Scholars never seems to get a mention in all these but they, too, are scheduled to open tomorrow (according to their Facebook page).
- how do nine schools need over a $1M each? Most are under 300 students.
I spoke with the Charter Commission's Executive Director, Joshua Halsey, this morning. He said that the Commission may be winding down its work if they have no funding. Who then, would oversee these schools that remain open? He said he didn't know the answer to that or even if it would be legal for them to stay open.
The court's ruling — which held charter schools are not entitled to
any public funding because they lack the oversight of elected boards —
could potentially cut off state funding to the schools as soon as Sept.
24, according to the state's top charter official, Joshua Halsey.
Franta says his organization is exploring legal maneuvers that would
delay that funding cutoff. Charter association lawyers plan to file a
motion asking state high court justices to reconsider their ruling. The
association is also exploring whether they can appeal the ruling in
I don't think the Supreme Court will reconsider. They can say that operators knew this was a possibility and they should have taken steps to protect their schools. As well, I cannot see what federal issues there are (and more than more lawyer agrees with me).
The Court sent the ruling back to King County Court which had handled the original case. That answer should be back within 20 days (probably around the 24th). The state money would likely cut-off around September 30th.