Thursday, October 08, 2015

Washington State Charter School Updates

Some items I have mentioned before and some items are probably new to most readers.
- The Washington State Charter Schools Association asked the Supreme Court for an extension on their filing for reconsideration by the Court and was granted it.  They have until October 24th to file.

- Meanwhile, Attorney General Bob Ferguson met the 20-day deadline for his office's filing for reconsideration.

- Additionally, Ferguson is filing a friend of the court for the WSCSA's reconsideration.

- The Washington Education Association has launched a petition to ask Ferguson to reconsider his motion to the Court for reconsideration. It has over 1,000 signatures.

- Troubled First Place Scholars charter school is have a "radio-thon" this weekend in to raise money for the school.

- Remember how the head of the WSCASA, Tom Franta, had said, immediately after the ruling, that private donors would make sure that the current charter schools would have funding thru the end of the school year? From the News Tribune on September 8, 2015:

In the wake of Friday’s ruling from the Washington Supreme Court that the state’s charter school law is unconstitutional, CEO Tom Franta of the Washington State Charter Schools Association said his group has brokered a deal that will keep the schools open with grants and donations.

Well, now not so much. Now he says that they don't have the money yet.

October 6, 2015 from KPLU:

But Franta clarified the association has not yet received any actual donations so, as a legal matter, the association cannot guarantee it will raise the funds to keep the charter schools open.

"All of these fundraising efforts will take time," the charter schools association's motion reads, "and the results are uncertain.”

I note that at their website they are doing fundraising and have been since the ruling. 

I perceive that they jumped the gun saying private donors would pay to finish this school year and this as a ploy to try to get the State to continue its funding.  Why should Bill Gates pay if they can coerce the State to continue do so? 

- KPLU also reports that the State is paying for the charters to operate thru October:

The state sent the payment because the charter association and the state attorney general's office have filed motions asking the court to reconsider its ruling — and as long as that legal limbo continues, the schools can receive public money.

-On the subject of Running Start and other programs like the Tri-Cities Delta High School whose funding has been alleged to be threatened under this ruling, the Tri-City Herald reported this:

The Washington Policy Center added that even Delta High, a science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, school cooperatively run by the Kennewick, Pasco and Richland school districts, is at risk because of its supportive ties with Columbia Basin College, Washington State University and private industry.  

But officials with the Kennewick and Pasco school districts reject the possibility that the charter school ruling put Delta High in jeopardy. The school is governed by the three Tri-City districts, and no decisions regarding the school are made without the approval of the three elected school boards.
“I’m not even sure why someone would suggest that would fall in line with the Supreme Court decision,” said Kennewick Superintendent Dave Bond.
Yes, why would someone try to put out information - any information, piles of information - in order to support their side on the issue of the Supreme Court ruling?

It’s not as clear-cut with Running Start, which allows high school students to take courses on college and university campuses for college credit. Columbia Basin College’s board and the regents of Washington State University, the only local options for the program in the Tri-Cities, are appointed by the governor.

But school districts elect to participate in the program, forming a partnership with a higher education institution, school officials said. The districts don’t have authority over college faculty, but they determine which courses meet credit requirements and still provide some services to Running Start students. 

The money the colleges and universities receive to teach the students must flow from a school district first, meaning elected boards and their constituents exercise control, school officials said.

“Our position would be we want to make sure,” said Marty Brown, spokesman for the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges. “(The concerns) aren’t directly on point, but clarification would be good.”

Read more here:

Read more here:
I think Running Start is probably in the clear.  But here's the thing - with this Supreme Court ruling, even if there are found to be programs found to be improperly funded by the Legislature, two wrongs don't make a right.

Correct those programs' funding by all means if necessary because of the Court's ruling but that doesn't mean fund charter schools as well.  The charter law is still unconstitutional.

Read more here:


Anonymous said...

The Tri-City Herald article is inaccurate at least in one respect: School districts cannot elect to participate in Running Start. Students, regardless of whether or not their district or high school support Running Start, have the right to participate if they meet the colleges' entrance requirements. Period.

Also, the reason the AG suggests that Delta HS is jeopardized is that the court majority said that common school funding must be under the "total control" of local school boards. Interagency contracts that support Delta HS and the skills centers, etc. are not under "total control" of local elected school boards.

Citizen Kane

Watching said...

Jay Inslee formed a group of individuals to discuss funding education. No surprise, the group contains at least one individual that has ties to the American Legislative Exchange Commission and his name is Doug Erickson.

Cristine Rolfes (D) from Bainbridge Island sits on the committee and she suggests incorporating funding for charter school into the mix:

As an aside, elected officials are conducting a "listening tour". The issue of funding education is on the table and big topics of discussion revolve around levy reform. There is a proposed levy swap on the table and Seattle is expected to be the state's piggy bank. Homeowners can expect to pay an additional $500 property tax and tens of millions of dollars will exit Seattle Public Schools. The "listening tour" will be both north and south of Seattle- and there is not ONE single meeting in Seattle. I suspect the "listening tour" will soon claim "support" for a levy swap. There will be a meeting in Renton...mid October and Seattle residents need to show=up in force.

Anonymous said...

Not very progressive of you, Watching. Seattle has the highest property values in the state and its residents can afford to provide some tax relief to the property poor districts of Yakima, Wenatchee, Walla Walla, et al. Are you really suggesting that we should continue to screw the poorer residents of the state so you can keep your money here for your own kids? Again, not very progressive of you, Watching.

Under your logic, let's go ahead a impose on capital gains tax on the richest residents of our state. But the money raised should only go to the schools, private or public, where their children attend.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Citizen Kane

Melissa Westbrook said...

Watching, I'll be writing about that "listening tour" soon.

Citizen Kane, part of the problem for those smaller,poorer districts is that they don't pass their levies and bonds. So we do pay more for them for refusing to be taxed. How is that fair?

I think you only have it half-right on Running Start but again, two wrongs don't make a right. A finding that some programs are not being funded correctly doesn't make the charter law any more constitutional.

suep. said...

The Running Start argument is also specious. Students in Running Start programs are still required to be enrolled in a public high school, which in turn is part of the public school district and governed by an elected school board.


Running Start funding is only available to Washington
State residents enrolled in a Washington State public high school and living in Washington. Residency is defined within WAC 392-137-115

Running Start is a dual credit program and is intended to advance students toward the earning of credit to complete high school graduation requirements,
RCW 28A.600.360, WAC 392.160.015.

Q. Do Running Start students need to meet all district and state graduation requirements in order to earn a district high school diploma?
A. Yes

Watching said...

"Not very progressive of you, Watching'

Really, Citien Kane? Re-read my post and you will see that I am just reporting the facts. Then, we can discuss the district's projected shortfall of $66M in 3 years.

Anonymous said...

@suep, the court made it very clear that this is about money. 93% of the basic education allocation is sent to the college for Running Start. The local school board has ZERO control over those dollars and ZERO control over the hiring and firing of college instructors paid by those K-12 dollars.

But I agree with Melissa that two wrongs don't make a right. They shouldn't now say charter schools are common schools to address the Running Start issue. They should address the language of their ruling.

Citizen Kane

Anonymous said...

"Seattle is expected to be the state's piggy bank" doesn't sound like a fact to me.

Citizen Kane

suep. said...

Citizen Kane, you are incorrect. Governance, "local voter control" and how they apply to the definition of "common schools" was indeed a part of the Supreme Court's determination.


This case addresses the designation, funding, and control of charter
schools as set forth in I-1240 and that initiative's compliance with article IX, section 2.


Here, because charter schools under 1-1240 are run by an appointed board or nonprofit organization and thus are not subject to local voter control, they cannot qualify as "common schools" within the meaning of article IX.10

And as I stated earlier, students enrolled in Running Start are also required by law to be enrolled in a public high school (and meet the necessary graduation requirements), which is overseen by an elected school board.

Charter schools under I-1240 are not overseen by an elected school board or the state superintendent of public instruction, but by a private, appointed board that is not answerable to the voting public.

Anonymous said...

@suep, are you purposely being obtuse? Again, 93% of the BEA follows the student to the college. The elected school board has ZERO control of the 93% of the BEA. The majority ruling stated that the local school board must have "total control" over those dollars. They have nothing like total control of those dollars. In fact (again), they have ZERO control.

Colleges are governed by appointed regents or boards that are not answerable to the voting public.

It's about the dollars. Period.

Citizen Kane

Eric B said...

The local school board has total control over those BEA dollars. They can send them to the Running Start college (along with a student) or not. Their choice. They can choose which colleges to sign agreements with.

If levy dollars are to be distributed across the state, the property tax levy needs to be equivalent across the state. Yakima shouldn't get to have a 0% tax rate for education and still get levy money just because Seattle is willing to pay for education. It's not about being progressive or not, it's about basic fairness. If everyone across the state pays X cents per $100K valuation, then I'm good. If one region pays more because they have historically been willing to pay their own way, I'm not.

It's bad enough that the red counties in this state take more than they pay already while whining about every single project in Seattle.

Anonymous said...

@Eric , you are absolutely wrong about how Running Start operates: (1) The local school district board has absolutely no authority over whether or not students get to participate in Running Start. (2) There are no agreements signed between the school districts and the colleges for the Running Start program.

For a student to participate in the program, the student must be enrolled in a public high school, be an 11th or 12th grade student, and meet the college's entrance requirements. That's it.

Once a student meets the program eligibility requirements, the student simply enrolls in the college. The colleges then use the OSPI Running Start Enrollment Form to report Running Start students to the local high schools. Once the monthly forms are received, the high schools/school districts send the BEA to the colleges.

Once again, school districts cannot choose to participate. The students have the RIGHT to participate. There are no signed agreements for participation in the program between school districts and colleges.

Thus, the local school board has ZERO control over those dollars.

Citizen Kane

Anonymous said...

Also, Eric, you're confusing local property tax rates and state property tax rates. Under the levy swap proposal, the state property tax rate would be uniform across the state --- as it currently is.

The bipartisan Senate proposal would increase the state property tax rate approx. $2 and cap the local tax levy rate at $1 --- I'm rounding these numbers for simplification purposes. For Seattle, we would see in increase of $2 in state property taxes (as would everyone else in the state) but only a decrease in local property tax rate of $0.25. Thus, we'd see an increase of $1.75 per $1000.

Yakima, on the other hand, has a local property tax rate of about $4. They would see an increase in their state property tax rate of $2 --- same as everyone else --- but they would see a decrease in their local property tax rate of $3.75 for a net decrease of $1.75 per $1000.

This proposal makes the entire property tax system uniform and fair.

And BTW, it's not that the "red" counties refuse to pass local school levies. It's that they can't afford to pass them with local property tax rates above $4 per $1000.

By the way, this levy swap proposal would raise about $3.5 billion to cover teacher compensation across the state. This proposal takes into consideration higher cost of living areas like Seattle and pays teachers more than low cost areas like Yakima. There is a benefit to Seattle.

Citizen Kane

Anonymous said...

CK @1:43, that sounds about right. Levy equalization and levy swap are pretty confusing. I'm still learning as I go. I have to say despite how WA underfunds education, it does better than many other states in distributing the money fairly among rich and poor counties.


Watching said...

"But the money raised should only go to the schools, private or public, where their children attend."

Citizen Kane's logic is wayyy off base and makes untrue assertions. Not once did I say that funding should go to private schools.

Citizen Kane makes a lot of assertions. I'd like to see supporting documents.

There are some funding streams in Olympia that are not healthy and need to be strengthened.

Watching said...

Citizen Kane fails to recognize that Running Start dollars ARE funneled through the school district, which is under local and elected control.

See page 54 and page 57:

Watching said...

"Seattle has the highest property values in the state and its residents can afford to provide some tax relief to the property poor districts..."

I also challenge Citizen Kane to explain the manner in which low income, senior citizens and renters can continue to afford the increasing taxes on sky rocketing properties.

Anonymous said...

Watching said "Citizen Kane fails to recognize that Running Start dollars ARE funneled through the school district, which is under local and elected control."

But it's not enough that the money goes through the school district. According to the Bryan ruling, the school district would have to control the hiring of the teachers of the college classes for Running Start to qualify as a "common school".


Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, I would like to know the source of Citizen Kane's strong assertions. It would be helpful to either have links or tell use the source of the expertise.

Again, no matter what other programs, charters have their own law. That is separate from other programs and each should be addressed separately.

Watching said...


The Byron Case in relation to hiring teachers etc. is above my pay grade. It would be interesting to learn more about the provisions, requirements etc. that are necessary in order for the school district to transfer dollars to local community colleges.

I did hear I 1240 being argued before the Supreme Court and the issue of Running Start was front and center.

Watching said...

Lastly, it is not uncommon for students to attend their local high school AND take some Running Start classes. This is not the case with charter schools.

Anonymous said...

Hale has a lot of running start kids. They all take a couple of classes at North Seattle College and a couple of classes at Hale. They graduate from Hale. They do their senior project at Hale. I am sure it is similar at other Seattle high schools.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like charter supporters are grabbing at every possible straw to keep from losing their schools. The court is highly unlikely to be swayed by the charter lawyer yelling SQUIRREL (Running Start). Anyone notice that the charter supporter reasoning to keep charters themselves open is conspicuously absent? The court will certainly notice.


Anonymous said...

All of my "assertions" regarding how Running Start operates can be gleaned from a reading of the applicable RCWs (28A.600.300-400) and WACs (Chapter 392-169) as well as the OSPI Running Start website. It's all there for anyone to read and understand.

And, once again, @NoCharters, my points about Running Start are not a defense of charter schools --- as I've repeated numerous times. The court's majority opinion created a problem for Running Start and should be remedied. I agree with Melissa that this is s separate issue and should be addressed separately.

And, @Watching, I'm sorry you're having reading comprehension issues. I've clearly acknowledged that Running Start funds flow through the school district. And I'm well aware that students can enroll in RS part-time and the high school part-time. But FOR THE LAST TIME, the portion of the state basic education funds sent to the colleges for RS enrollment are not controlled by the school district IN ANY WAY; therefore, they are not in the "total control" of the local school board. According to the majority opinion, this would mean that Running Start is unconstitutional. That should be remedied.

Citizen Kane

Lynn said...

Citizen Kane,

The court's opinion didn't create a problem for Running Start. It's possible that Running Start's funding is inappropriate - but if so, the court didn't make it inappropriate, it merely drew attention to the problem. Now that the problem (assuming there is one) is public knowledge, the way the program is funded or administered has to be changed. The court cannot be expected to un-notice irregularities.

Watching said...

Citien Kane is getting defensive.

I would like for Citizen Kane to explain why OPSI doesn't send dollars directly to local community colleges and why those dollars are under local/ voter control. I'd also like Citizen Kane to discuss why graduation requirements- for Running Start students- are under locally elected boards.

Watching said...

Citizen Kane writes:

The local school board has ZERO control over those dollars and ZERO control over the hiring and firing of college instructors paid by those K-12 dollars."

Local school board does have oversight. One doesn't need to look beyond the school budget.

Anonymous said...

There has to be a uniform system of distribution and accountability of for state basic education funds. Right now it is through the local districts, so Spokane charter schools work. If the state wants to set up a state school district that can enroll students and authorize the distribution of state funds, then they need a state elected school board that works with OSPI. Go rewrite the charter law and try again.


Lynn said...


Are Spokane's charter schools funded through the district or directly by the state? Even if the district authorizes and funds them, it doesn't control them. The court said:

Relevant here, I-1240 also provides that charter schools are "governed by a charter school board," which is "appointed or selected ... to manage and operate the charter school." LAWS OF 2013, ch. 2, § 201(5)-(6); RCW 28A.710.010(5)-(6). The charter school board has the power to hire and discharge charter school employees and may contract with nonprofit organizations to manage the charter school. LAWS OF 2013, ch. 2, § 203(1)(a),(c); RCW 28A.710.030(1)(a), (c); see also LAWS OF 2013, ch. 2, § 101(2); RCW 28A.710.005(2) ("the people enact this initiative measure to authorize ... charter schools in the state of Washington to be operated by qualified nonprofit organizations"). I-1240 also makes charter schools "free from many regulations" that govern other schools. LAWS OF 2013, ch. 2, § IOI(l)(n)(viii); RCW 28A.710.005(1)(n)(viii). Charter schools are "exempt from all school district policies," as well as "all ... state statutes and rules applicable to school districts" except those listed in I-1240 section 204(2) and those made applicable in the school's charter contract. LAWS OF 2013, ch. 2, § 204(3); RCW 28A.710.040(3).

Lynn said...

Some information on charter school enrollment is available here:

I looked at some of the reports for Summit Sierra and noticed a few things. They started September with 121 students and lost 11 of those. 10.5% of their students are eligible for special education services. 19% are eligible for transitional bilingual services. They don't serve breakfast or lunch.

Anonymous said...

Maybe OSPI needs to be tasked with accrediting and signing off on running start, tech school courses, or charter school courses, which are to be considered a valid substitute for the coursework, hours, or credits stipulating in the RCW defining basic education?


joanna said...

Why would the statement below be true? The Supreme Court ruled and really they all said common school funding was out of the question and a majority ruled it unconstitutional (Does that not stand as the the last ruling?), and I do not see any new evidence that has been presented that would change the ruling. The Court should just say no to the reconsideration. Since the Court had accepted the case why were they allowed to open at all?

The state sent the payment because the charter association and the state attorney general's office have filed motions asking the court to reconsider its ruling — and as long as that legal limbo continues, the schools can receive public money.

Tangerine said...

Tangerine said...

Running start also guarantees common funding (state dollars) to all juniors and seniors in WA state. There is no board or district oversight, and a district is prohibited from blocking a child's participation. Also, contracts between a high school and college are only required if a college teaches courses on high school property.

Tangerine said...

This link also explains the funding...

Anonymous said...

Charter "schools" are DEAD in Washington State! DEAD!

Get used to it, all of you shills, trolls, and paid propagandists. It's OVER.

(I do wonder, however, who "Citizen Kane" really is. Any guesses? Somehow the people at LEV, SFC, SF, or TU are the names coming to mind. It's amazing what some people will do for The Money, Cold Cash, Dollar Delights, and/or The Fabulous Moolah...)

Are there ANY pro-charter/pro-privatization advocates who are spewing their drivel for free? If so, I'd like to meet one.

Meantime, thank you, Thank You and THANK YOU, the six wise judges on our Supreme Court who saw the execrable and mendacious atrocity called I-1240 for what it really is. The day of that ruling was the finest day in the history of the Washington Supreme Court.

Now, let's break open the champagne and take a well-deserved victory lap. Charter "schools" and all of the lies, viciousness and deliberate defunding and destruction of taxpayer controlled public schools, will no longer threaten our state's proud heritage of free, universal education for all children!

It's time to celebrate---but also to gird our loins for the next attempt to privatize our schools; these bored billionaires might still keep the dollars flowing for a while, before they give up and move on to their next grandiose, megalomaniacal scheme.

It's over, charter shills. Charter "schools" are DEAD, DEAD, and DEAD! Yes!
Oh Happy Day! (It gets REALLY good at 1:27. Enjoy!)

Charters Are A Fraud and A Plague