The Washington State Senate last week voted in favor legislation to save voter-approved public charter schools, signaling an early victory for the students and families advocating to keep the schools open.
The bill passed with bi-partisan support by a 27-20 margin and now advances to the House of Representatives for consideration. Senators in support of the bill called on their colleagues to keep public charter schools open as part of a solution that would ensure that all children in Washington have access to a high-quality education.
The bill was introduced by Sens. Steve Litzow (R – Mercer Island), Mark Mullet (D – Issaquah), Joe Fain (R – Auburn), and Steve Hobbs (D – Lake Stevens), and passed with bi-partisan support by a 27-20 margin. It now advances to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The legislation closes the loophole that led to questions about the constitutionality of charter schools and their governance by updating the schools' funding mechanism. Senators in support of the bill called on their colleagues to keep public charter schools open as part of a solution that would ensure that all children in Washington have access to a high-quality education. and closes the loophole that led to
“Education quality—and inequality—is the top concern of students, parents, teachers, and lawmakers,” said Litzow. “We must continue to find many innovative ways to ensure all children receive a great education that prepares them to enter and succeed in college and compete for a good job.”
The student and parent-led Act Now for Washington Students issued a statement following the bill's passage:
“We are grateful to the members of the Senate who have listened to the testimonies of students, parents, and educators, and who have taken clear action on behalf of Washington students and recognized the urgency to act now. Today’s advancement of SB 6194 out of the Senate marks a major step forward for current and future public charter school families. The Senate’s actions today may very well have an indelible impact on future generations of Washington students, particularly those from underserved communities who are traditionally left behind.
“The voters spoke in 2012 when they passed a law that would allow for public charter schools to be part of our broader public education system. We applaud legislators from both sides of the aisle who are working to ensure that these schools stay open and that all Washington families will have the opportunity to choose the public school that best fits the educational needs of their children.”
Supporters from all sectors will continue to advocate for the bill as it advances through the House of Representatives