"Charter public schools have been given a stamp of approval from Washington voters, the state Legislature, and now the state’s judicial system,” he said in a prepared statement. "This is a factually untrue statement (prepared or not). Why? Because the courts only rule on constitutional issues and, in fact, both the WA Supreme Court AND the King County Superior Court rulings both said that neither case was about whether charters work or are good or bad.
They ruled that the law was constitutional. That's it and Mr. Franta knows it. To say that there is some "stamp of approval" by the courts undermines our judicial system. Maybe Mr. Franta is taking his cue from the Trump administration.
End of update
Judge John Chun of King County Superior Court today ruled in favor of the defendants in upholding the current charter law.
I will say in reading the ruling, I see many places where the judge further validates other rulings and leaves the door wide open for other lawsuits (which I predict will come to pass.)
It's a big win for charter supporters but I don't think it now leaves anyone in a relaxed place. Or rather, no one should take this ruling to be the end.
From the ruling (all bold mine):
"Fourth, and finally, Plaintiffs argue in significant part regarding the ways in which the Act’s implementation has led, and may lead, to unconstitutional results. Such arguments, however, are more properly brought as as-applied challenges. And this Order does not foreclose such a claim."One other interesting item is that the judge says, over and over,
"Plaintiffs’ diversion claim lacks ripeness. Plaintiffs’ argument rests on speculation that the Opportunity Pathways account evenue will not be able to cover the cost of the CSA by the 2021-2022 school year, and that restricted funds will thereafter be used. However, it is undisputed that, at this time, lottery revenue from the Opportunity Pathways account is the only funding source for charter schools. It is similarly undisputed that such funding is not a restricted revenue source for common schools. If, in the future, the State attempts to use funds allocated for common schools in violation of article IX, section 2, then the issue will be ripe for consideration."
"To find any deviation from common schools a violation of article IX, section 2 conflates the common school system with the public school system."
"It is undisputed that charter schools are not common schools."
"It is further undisputed that charter schools cannot access funds restricted for common schools."That's good because it continues to enforce that charter schools are not, and never will be in the state of Washington, common schools.
It will be interesting to see where the dollars will come for 40 charter schools.
We know it can't be the General Fund so it will be fascinating to see how the Legislature comes up with the money for those schools while now seemingly can't seem to find the money for existing schools.
As well, Chun also makes the statement that many might not have known:
"This makes sense because, unless it is authorized by one, a charter school is wholly independent from a school district."Yes, each Charter Commission-approved charter school is itself a district. So why they want help from larger districts is a mystery to me. And yet, that's the expectation.
He also makes this important point:
"Fourth, and finally, the statute requires school districts to inform parents and the general public in their district of available charter schools. RCW 28A.710.060. It would be inconsistent to require school districts to inform families of the option to transfer their student to a charter school if that charter school would not honor credits earned at a different public school."Right, so charters will have to be careful that their credits WILL transfer to a regular common school.
On the issue of the role of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, some more illuminating reading:
"Furthermore, the Superintendent maintains the “power of the purse” with respect to charter schools."What did Yogi Berra say on the end of something?
Numerous WACs give the Superintendent the power to withhold, delay, or otherwise recoup payments. "