The state Senate yesterday voted to concur with the House-passed public charter school bill. The Associated Press reports,
The bill was passed in the House on Wednesday night and in the Senate on Thursday afternoon. It now heads to the governor’s desk.
It was designed to answer a September ruling by the Washington Supreme Court that the charter school law adopted by voters in 2012 is unconstitutional.
Charter school supporters think the solution will stick.
Tom Franta, CEO of the nonprofit Washington State Charter Schools Association, said he believes the bill addresses all the constitutional questions because it makes clear that charter schools are no longer common schools as the state Constitution labels Washington’s more traditional public schools.
The Seattle Times editorial board urge the governor to sign the bill.
STUDENTS at the state’s eight public charter schools, their parents, teachers and administrators have almost won their difficult fight after a key state House vote Wednesday.
Now, Gov. Jay Inslee should — without delay — sign ESSSB 6194, a remedy for the concerns of the state Supreme Court, which threw out the voter-approved charter-school law in September.
The editorial properly identifies legislative champions.
Leading the charge in the Democratic-controlled House was state Rep. Larry Springer, D-Kirkland. Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Renton, was among those who argued poignantly for passage. Reps. Chad Magendanz of Issaquah and J.T. Wilcox of Yelm led the effort on the Republican side.
Impressively, Democratic leadership permitted a vote even though a majority of the caucus, including Speaker Frank Chopp, voted no. That is a remarkable decision that would benefit these 1,100 students now and many more in the future.
In the Senate, Republicans Steve Litzow of Mercer Island and Joe Fain of Auburn were joined by Democratic Sens. Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens and Mark Mullet of Issaquah.
The governor’s signature on the legislation is now all that’s needed to save the schools. It’s time.