For Immediate Release | March 10, 2016
Bipartisan Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk, Advocates Urge Inslee to Sign Into Law
OLYMPIA — Legislators in the Washington State Senate voted today to approve a bill that will save public charters schools and create a long term path for their success by a bipartisan vote of 26-23. The vote follows yesterday’s bipartisan House vote which saw a 58-39 victory for public charter schools. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law, ending a more than six-month debacle that thrust families across the state into limbo.
Parents and students across the state are expecting Governor Inslee both affirm the will of the voters and both houses of the Legislature by signing the bipartisan bill.
“We are thankful to legislators in both houses and on both sides of the aisle who have passed a long-term solution for public charter schools. This will have positive implications not just for these 1,100 students but for countless Washington families in the future,” said Thomas Franta, CEO, Washington State Charter Schools Association. “We expect Gov. Inslee will respect the bipartisan legislature’s vote, respect the will of the voters and most of all respect the parents and students who worked so hard for this victory today on behalf of not just their schools, but every kid statewide.”
Advocates mounted a powerful grassroots campaign, coupled with a paid effort, to call on legislators to reinstate the 2012 law overturned by courts last fall, as kids sat in classrooms, uncertain if their schools would remain open. More than 1,100 families already benefitting from public charter schools were joined by advocates across the state, including Yakima, Walla Walla, Spokane and West Seattle, where demand for new schools is high.
The bill that passed today reflects that effort but contains some clear compromises that differ from Initiative 1240. These include:
- The bill eliminates charter school access to local levy moneys;
- The bill removes provisions authorizing the conversion of traditional public schools into charter schools