Washington State Supreme Court Rules Charter Schools Unconstitutional

Published September 12, 2015

The Washington state Supreme Court declared the state’s law to allow charter schools unconstitutional, according to the Washington Policy Center. The state Supreme Court struck down the law on Sept. 4.

“Just as schools across Washington open their doors to students, the state Supreme Court placed school reform in serious jeopardy,” Liv Finne, director of education for the Washington Policy Center told School Reform News. “For technical reasons, the court struck down the charter school law passed by voters in 2012. The state teachers union, Washington Education Association, which funded the lawsuit against the charter school law, celebrated the ruling.”

Finne says the ruling shocked and upset the parents of the 1,300 children enrolled in one Washington’s nine charter schools.

“Questions are now being raised about union influence on the supreme court,” Finne said. “Public records show seven of the nine Supreme Court judges took maximum contributions from the state teachers union during their election campaigns. Fortunately, the education of the 1,300 charter school children will proceed, uninterrupted, because private funding has been secured to keep these nine charter schools open for the rest of the school year.”

Finne says charter school advocates are calling for a special session of the legislature to make the technical fixes required, but this most likely will not happen until the next legislative session, beginning in January 2016.

The ruling does not become final until the end of September, according a report in The Washington Post report. 

Heather Kays ([email protected]) is a research fellow with The Heartland Institute and is managing editor of School Reform News.

Image by Joe Gratz.