As Legal Limbo Continues, Public Funding Still Flows To Wash. Charter Schools | KNKX

As Legal Limbo Continues, Public Funding Still Flows To Wash. Charter Schools

Oct 6, 2015

The future of Washington state's charter schools may be up in the air, but for now, they are still receiving public funding.

Though the state Supreme Court ruled last month charter schools violate Washington’s constitution, state education officials sent regular funding payments to the schools at the end of September, according to Tom Franta, CEO of the Washington State Charter Schools Association.

The state sent the payment because the charter association and the state attorney general's office have filed motions asking the court to reconsider its ruling — and as long as that legal limbo continues, the schools can receive public money.

If that funding flow stops, Franta reiterated his confidence that donors will step up to cover the $14 million cost of keeping all nine charter schools open through the end of the school year.

"As long as the state continues to live up to their obligation to fund schools, the need will be significantly diminished from the philanthropic community," Franta said.

But Franta clarified the association has not yet received any actual donations so, as a legal matter, the association cannot guarantee it will raise the funds to keep the charter schools open.

"All of these fundraising efforts will take time," the charter schools association's motion reads, "and the results are uncertain.”

Charter opponents have called on Attorney General Bob Ferguson to drop his motion asking the court to reconsider its decision. In an online petition, the Washington Education Association said the charter law "drains public tax dollars from existing public schools and gives those tax dollars to privately run organizations that are not directly accountable to voters.”