Folks, apparently we may have a pissing match going on. While I appreciate that there are some in the Legislature who really like charter schools, this kind of amount to telling someone their job. Now perhaps some in the Legislature (maybe a majority for all we know), believe that the McCleary ruling (and all that has come after) was treading on the Legislature's delicate toes.
So maybe this is some of those legislators trying to toss this back into the Corut's face and telling THEM that they don't know how to do their jobs. And maybe some are trying to be deliberately provocative.
It should tell us all that when January starts, charters may be the wedge to get McCleary done.
From the News Tribune:
Yet the brief filed by the 10 lawmakers Monday claims the court’s decision “potentially undercuts the Legislature’s authority” to structure the state’s school system and write state budgets, while ignoring that lawmakers took steps to ensure that “common school” funding wouldn’t go to charter schools.
Lending their names to the brief were state Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island; Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle; Rep. Larry Springer, D-Kirkland; Rep. Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah; Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton; Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens; Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah; Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn; Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia; and Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island.
This list certainly is a usual suspects list and the ONLY Seattle legislator is, of course, Eric Pettigrew. It's certainly sad that Rep Pettigrew has time for this but not time to get McCleary done and fully-fund schools like Rainier Beach High School.
I have not had the time to read the brief but I am baffled by this idea that there were steps taken so that funding for common schools wouldn't go to charters. When did this happen? I must have missed it because the argument, all along, WAS that charters were public (and therefore common schools).
The lawmakers also questioned whether the court’s decision could affect the Legislature’s ability to fund other specialized educational programs, such as Running Start or bilingual programs.
And again, two wrongs don't make a right. If the Court has found a problem with how the Legislature funds other ed programs, the Legislature can fix that. But it doesn't make the charter law constitutional.
Here's the brief that the Washington State Charter Schools Association finally filed last week. I haven't read the entire thing but here's the summary from their "blog:"
- The Court’s holding – that every dollar appropriated for basic education is constitutionally restricted for common schools – is wrong, and reflects a fundamental misreading of decades of case law and the structure of basic education funding in Washington today.
- The Opinion undermines the constitutionality of many other important education programs, such as Running Start, tribal compact schools, skill centers, and any other public school program that isn’t directly supervised by an elected school board.
- The Court improperly
shifted the burden of proof to the State, abandoning the long-standing
rule that Plaintiffs bear the burden of demonstrating that the law
cannot be implemented in a constitutional manner.
- Moreover, Plaintiffs have not proven that the law cannot be applied in a constitutional manner under any circumstances. In fact, charter schools can be and are funded with unrestricted appropriations in the State’s general fund.
- Even if the funding system is invalid, the rest of I-1240 should be left intact. The definition of charter schools as common schools, and any alleged problematic funding provisions, are severable from the law, which was passed by voter initiative in 2012.
But they are right - the Legislature COULD fund charters thru the General Fund. But the howls to come if that happens? You'll hear them from all corners of the state.
You certainly could sever funding from charters schools but, as the Court seemed to say, what's the point? How would they fund themselves? Gates won't even help fund First Place Scholars.
As well, the legislators, the Attorney General and the WSCSA all seem to forget - the Court ONLY considered the funding issue and not all the OTHER issues brought forth. The law still has other constitutional issues and I'm certain those could be called into question at a later date.
I suspect the Court will rule soon. Finally, a final ruling.