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Washington State Charter Law Still Standing

A small portion of Washington State’s voter-approved charter school law has been ruled unconstitutional, however the ruling has yielded mixed reactions, with both sides claiming victory.

According to leading interpretations of the ruling, the law itself is constitutional, allowing for the approval of charter schools to move forward in 2014. But Judge Jean Rietschel also ruled charter schools do not fit the definition of a “common school” stipulated in the state constitution, which could present a barrier when it comes to charter schools receiving facilities funding from the state budget.

However, Rietschel also held that charter schools advance the educational goals of the state and therefore can function within the state public education system.

The lawsuit against the approval of charter schools in Washington was initially filed in July 2013 by the Washington Education Association, and was subsequently joined by a number of co-plaintiffs.

The bottom line? Although there is likely to be an appeal to Washington’s highest court to settle the dispute, the charter school law will stand, contrary to some initial responses declaring it unconstitutional.