SEATTLE – Charter schools will start appearing in Washington State next fall, after a Superior Court judge ruled last week the alternative public schools are constitutional.
Charter supporters were pleased with the ruling, if not overly surprised.
“We always thought it was constitutional,” Lisa Macfarlane, spokesperson for the Washington State Charter Schools Association, told Watchdog.org. “We vetted it pretty carefully with constitutional law experts, and were confident it would pass constitutional muster.”
Judge Jean Rietschel’s decision didn’t contain all good news for charter advocates. Rietschel struck down part of the 2012 law that classified charters as “common schools,” which would have allowed them to receive state matching funds for construction projects, reports the pro-charter Washington Policy Center.
Since charter supporters weren’t expecting that part of the law to survive, they don’t consider Rietschel’s decision to be a setback in the least, notes Watchdog.org.
The news site adds that both charter supporters and opponents expect the state Supreme Court to eventually have the final say on the law, which allows the creation of 40 charters over a five-year period.
The law – which voters approved by the slimmest of margins in November of 2012 – made Washington State the 42nd state in the nation to allow charter schools.
The state’s teachers unions, which have long opposed charters because they typically don’t hire union teachers, ignored the will of the people and decided to challenge the election outcome in court.
As it stands right now, the people won, the unions lost, and the students of the state will benefit.