For Immediate Release | September 12, 2014
Parents, Educators, Approved Charter Schools, Civic Leaders, Education Advocates, Community and Business Leaders Signal Strong Support for Washington’s Charter School Law
Olympia, Wash. – Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters) CEO Thomas Franta issued the following statement applauding the action of a broad coalition of public charter school supporters who today filed an amicus or Friend of the Court brief. By filing the brief to the state Supreme Court, these groups and leaders officially joined in support of the voter-approved charter law, which has already resulted in new public education options for underserved children.
“Each and every child is capable of success and deserves equal access to high-quality public education opportunities. Washington’s first public charter schools are part of a great range of solutions that will enable every child to have this access to a quality education. The fact that so many respected educators, civic leaders, education advocates, community and business leaders and parents—as well as the approved charters—are joining us to defend the law speaks to the breadth of support that exists for public charter schools.
“We welcome the Supreme Court review of our voter-approved charter school law because we are confident that it will pass constitutional muster – just like we have seen in similar court decisions across the country.”
Former Attorney General Rob McKenna submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the Black Education Strategy Roundtable, Rep. Eric Pettigrew, Stand For Children-Washington, Teachers United, Washington Roundtable and Technology Alliance. The five approved homegrown charter schools also joined the brief, which included: First Place Scholars Charter School, SOAR Academy, PRIDE Prep, Rainier Prep, and Excel Public Charter School. Other groups filing briefs today included: the Black Alliance for Educational Options, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools, National Association of Charter School Authorizers, Washington Policy Center and the Pacific Legal Foundation.
In 2012, Washington became the 42nd state to allow public charter schools. Predictably, opponents in 2013 filed a lawsuit – similar to lawsuits that have failed in other states – aiming to overturn the voter-approved charter law. In Dec., a King County Superior Court judge issued a ruling principally upholding the constitutionality of the charter law. Opponents appealed this widely supported decision to the state Supreme Court. Oral arguments are scheduled for Oct. 28.
In the past year, 31 groups have expressed interest in opening public charter schools, 28 have applied and eight charter schools have been approved. Just last week, First Place Scholars Charter School—with a 25-year history of serving homeless children—opened as the state’s first charter school. Seven more charter schools will open in fall 2015, and state charter school authorizers will approve the next round of charter applicants by Oct. 12.
About WA Charters
The Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters) is a statewide nonprofit organization that supports the startup of high-quality public charter schools, with a focus on serving academically and economically underserved communities. WA Charters focuses on three key areas of support: providing information about charter schools; supporting leaders to grow high-performing public charter schools; and providing the critical support and services to help charter schools operate successfully. To learn more about public charter schools in Washington, please visit: www.wacharters.org.