Bill to Save Local Schools Progresses

After hearing passionate testimony on Tuesday in support of public
charter schools from students and parents who traveled from Seattle,
Tacoma, and Spokane, the Washington State Senate Education Committee
today voted in favor of Senate Bill 6194, marking a real victory for
current and future public charter school families.

The proposed legislation, introduced by Senators Steve Litzow (R –
Mercer Island), Mark Mullet (D – Issaquah), Joe Fain, (R – Auburn),
and Steve Hobbs (D – Lake Stevens), honors the will of the voters by
reinstating the 2012 voter approved public charter school law, with an
updated funding mechanism that addresses the problem facing public
charter schools, as well as other public schools not considered common
schools, and would keep school doors open.

The passage of Senate Bill 6194 out of the Senate Education Committee
is a clear indication that legislators are listening to students and
parents who are insisting that their innovative public schools stay
open. Parents and students will continue to advocate for Senate Bill
6194 as it advances through the Senate. The legislation is now
expected to be in heard in the Ways and Means Committee on Monday.

“My family and so many others are thankful our Senators listened to
students and parents from across the state whose needs are
being met by public charter schools,” said Melissa Pailthorp who
testified on Tuesday and has one daughter at Summit Sierra and two
daughters in district-run public schools. “We are hopeful
their colleagues will also do the right thing. For my family it’s not
about district or charter public schools, it’s about finding the best
fit for each of our daughters.”

Senate Bill 6194 prevents schools from shutting down, fixes the
funding glitch, and honors the will of the voters by reinstating the
2012 law. It creates a new funding mechanism for the public charter
schools and other public programs through lottery funds dedicated to
the Opportunity Pathways Account.

The student and parent-led Act Now for Washington Students coalition
commended the bipartisan group of legislators for taking action to
save public charter schools: “The voters spoke in 2012 when they
passed a law that would allow for public charter schools to be part of
our public education ecosystem. We applaud legislators for taking
action to ensure that these schools stay open and that diverse
communities will have the opportunity to choose the public school that
best fits the educational needs of their children.”