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Washington Supreme Court Finds Charter School Law Unconstitutional

Kyle Stokes
First Place Scholars charter school in Seattle's Central District neighborhood. The school was the first charter school to open in Washington state.

The Washington Supreme Court has ruled the state's voter-approved charter-school law unconstitutional.

In a 6-3 ruling issued late Friday afternoon, the high court said that charter schools do not qualify as common, public schools and cannot receive public funding.

KPLU education reporter Kyle Stokes has some of the details:

In the lead opinion, Chief Justice Barbara Madsen said the case wasn't about the merits of charter schools, simply whether they were eligible. Citing state Supreme Court precedent from 1909, she said they are not, because they are not under the control of local voters.

A coalition of groups, including the state teachers union, a group of Washington school administrators and the League of Women Voters, sued the state in 2013 to stop the new charter system, adopted by voters in 2012.

Last year, Washington state had one charter school. This year, there will be nine — in Spokane, Tacoma, Kent, Highline and Seattle.

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Kyle Stokes covers the issues facing kids and the policies impacting Washington's schools for KPLU.