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Charter School Commission to wind down, seek legislative fix to court ruling

by caprecord

In the wake of the Washington Supreme Court decision that struck down the state’s charter school law, the state commission that oversees charter schools will begin a “wind down” process while also exploring its legal options.

The Washington State Charter School Commission called a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss the Sept. 4 court decision that found that charter schools are unconstitutional and cannot receive public money because they are not “common schools” governed by elected school boards.

Members of the commission unanimously agreed Wednesday to begin a “statutory wind down process.” The commission was created by Initiative 1240, the charter school law passed by voters in 2012 that paved the way for Washington to open up to 40 charter schools within five years.

It also adopted a resolution directing its staff to work with the state Attorney General’s office to explore legal options that allow charter schools to remain open for a year, giving the Legislature time to find a legislative fix.

“We have legal responsibilities we need to carry out and we need to do it thoughtfully at this time,” said commission chair Steve Sundquist, who said he was “deeply disappointed” in the ruling.

Executive director Joshua Halsey also recommended the commission adopt an official position calling on the governor and lawmakers to find a legislative fix to the court ruling, either in special session or the regular session that begins in January.

All nine of the state’s charter schools said Tuesday they would stay open for a year by relying on private funds.