More details on proposed bipartisan public charter school legislation; education tops 2016 legislative agenda

The bipartisan public charter school proposal will receive its first hearing early next week. 

The bill will receive a public hearing in the Senate education committee at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 12, the second day of the 2016 legislative session.

According to sponsors,

The legislation, sponsored in the Senate by Litzow and Sens. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah and Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, makes a series of updates which include directing charter school funding to come from the state’s Opportunity Pathways Account, which contains state lottery revenues not restricted to common schools.

“The opportunity to get a great education should be available to everyone, regardless of their zip code or the color of their skin. But many students, especially students of color, are not getting the education they deserve in our current system,” said Pettigrew, D-Renton, who serves as House Majority Caucus Chair. “In 2012, students, families and Washington’s voters agreed that charter schools should be a part of the solution to a public education system that is leaving too many kids without the education, hope and opportunity to achieve the American dream.”

The National Alliance for Public Charter School commended lawmakers  on the proposal. 

Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, released the following statement on the announcement of the proposed charter public school legislation…

“We applaud this bipartisan group of legislators for stepping forward to fight for Washington’s children. Their proposed legislation restores much of the policy encompassed by the charter public school law passed by ballot initiative 1240 in 2012, along with some critical updates in funding. Importantly, the legislation reflects the will of the voters by maintaining an independent statewide authorizer to ensure that families in all communities may be served by high-quality charter public schools.

Preserving public charter school is a legislative must-do this session. At the Associated Press Legislative Preview lawmakers placed education at the top of the agenda for the short 2016 session, but noted that a solution to the school funding challenge posed by the state Supreme Court will likely have to wait another year.