OLYMPIA – Charter schools would be accountable to locally elected school boards, making them constitutional and able to continue to receive funding under bipartisan legislation introduced today by Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane.
“At this point, it’s no longer about how you voted on the charter school initiative,” said Billig. “The fact is we have real kids in charter classrooms who deserve certainty about their education. We should find a way to provide stable funding for these schools and ensure they are complimentary and accountable to the rest of the local public school system, which benefits the children in the charter schools as well as the entire community.”
Billig’s bill creates “District Charter Schools” within the local school district, which not only complies with the Supreme Court decision because they will be under the control of the locally elected school board, but also means funding will be stable and reliable since these schools will be well within the definition of basic education. This bill creates a charter option for local school districts but a district would not be required to create a district charter school.
Charter schools were approved by voters in 2012. This past September, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that charter schools were operated in ways that violated the state’s constitution and could no longer receive public funding.
“This bill could work in concert with other charter policies or stand on its own as the charter school solution,” added Billig. “Either way, it can be utilized to help current charter schools continue as well as create increased options for school districts seeking more varied choices for students and families in their community.”
As a result of this legislation, district charter schools created by local school districts may be afforded independent elements similar to traditional charter schools such as formulating curriculum, freedom from some district policies, management of portions of the schools’ budgets, and the ability to manage the school’s staff more independently.