OLYMPIA Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, issued this statement today following the defeat of an amendment to charter school legislation that would eliminate the state charter school commission and permit local school districts to authorize the creation of new charter schools. The amendment would have permitted all nine charter schools that were created by I-1240 to remain open.

“This amendment was about finding a middle ground so that we could provide certainty and stability for the children who attend charter schools.

“Had the amendment been adopted, we would have put local districts and local communities in control while also providing educational certainty for the children currently enrolled in charter schools.

“Unfortunately, because this amendment was not adopted, I fear that this bill will not be able pass the Legislature, be signed into law or withstand a court challenge, which will likely result in these kids being uprooted from the schools of their choice.

“By refusing to compromise and sticking with the more extreme, and likely unconstitutional version of the bill, I have serious concerns that the Republican majority in the Senate is choosing to make this a political issue at the expense of the students. These kids and their families are desperate for a solution that provides them educational stability; the students should be our priority, not political partisanship.

“Despite this setback, I will continue to work to find a way this session to help these charter school students and our more than 1 million public school students find a way to access a world class education that meets their learning needs.”