WA Charters and other Intervenors ask state Supreme Court to reconsider charter school ruling

For Immediate Release | October 23, 2015

Seattle— Today, the Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters), along with other intervenors, filed a motion asking the Washington State Supreme Court to reconsider its charter school ruling. WA Charters CEO Thomas Franta released the following statement:

We are asking the Washington State Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling in order to keep more than 1,200 students – predominately from families of color and low income communities – in their public schools. As a state, we need to make sure all Washington students have access to a great public education, and Washington’s public charter schools are an important part of the solution. State leaders should not be shutting the doors on public charter schools and turning their backs on the families they serve.

WA Charters and the other intervenors are not alone is their disagreement with the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law. On September 25, Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a Motion for Reconsideration, and four former Attorneys General came to the same conclusion in response to the State Supreme Court’s ruling on our voter-approved public charter school law.

The motion centers on several key components:

  • 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.