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Attorney General Ferguson Submits Powerful Brief Urging Court to Fund Public Charter Schools, Latest in a Week of Strong Support

For Immediate Release | October 30, 2015

Plaintiffs ‘Myopic’ in Ignoring Damage to Students that Loss of Funding Would Cause

Seattle—Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson submitted a brief yesterday afternoon urging the Washington State Supreme Court to keep public funds coming to the state’s nine public charter schools. The strongly worded argument cites the harm that stopping public funding would cause some of the state’s most vulnerable public school students, including special education students, English language learners, and students impacted by poverty.

“It is in these students’ best interests to remain in their current schools as public school students for the entire 2015-16 school year,” asserted the Attorney General in his brief. “… [E]ven if charter schools can raise enough to remain open, their students will face real harms if their schools convert to private status. These harms will disparately impact the most vulnerable students attending charter schools – those with special education needs, English language needs, and those with low socioeconomic status.”

“The bottom line is that without a stay until the end of the school year, public charter school students face needless and harmful uncertainty. Even if their schools raise enough to remain open, students will be forced to choose between leaving their current school (with all of the harms that entails) and becoming private school students.”

Yesterday’s filing follows a motion filed by the State last month, which called on the Court reconsider its potentially disastrous September 4th ruling that invalidated Washington’s voter-approved public charter school law. Earlier this week a group of former Attorneys General, including former Governor Christine Gregoire and former Attorney General Rob McKenna filed an amicus brief in support of the state’s motion. The Attorney Generals joined a bipartisan group of ten legislators who submitted a separate amicus brief this week urging the Court to reconsider its decision. State Superintendent Randy Dorn has also demonstrated his unwavering commitment to ensuring that the education of students enrolled in our state’s nine charter schools will not be disrupted.

“Attorney General Ferguson could not be more right in his call to the Court to keep pubic charters open and publicly funded through the school year,” said Thomas Franta, CEO of the Washington Charter Schools Association (WA Charters). “A loss of public funding could cause harmful uncertainty to the already vulnerable communities our schools serve. More than 1,200 students face losing their local public schools because the Court went too far in overturning the will of the voters. Every child deserves access to an excellent public education and we applaud Attorney General Ferguson for his support of Washington kids.”