‘One-year fix’ will spark the end

In response to the Wednesday editorial, “Charter school fix temporary at best”: As the CEO of the Washington State Charter Schools Association, I appreciate the Herald Editorial Board’s constant support of Washington’s public charter schools. However, a one-year fix to temporarily postpone the closing of schools is not a solution — it’s a death sentence for high-quality public schools of choice in Washington. Legislators cannot afford to stand by while Washington students, predominantly from low-income households and communities of color, lose out on the chance for a better future.

Without a secure and long-term pathway forward, many public charter schools currently elevating the educational opportunities of Washington students will be unable to access the capital and facilities needed to fully build out their grade-level offerings to meet the expectations of the parents and students who chose the school. Mired in uncertainty, our public charter schools will struggle to recruit and retain staff. A temporary patch also puts schools at risk of losing access to federal operational funds. And most importantly, parents, students and families will remain in limbo — unsure if the school they chose and fell in love with will continue for another grade or stay open at all.

The choice for legislators is clear: pass a long-term solution to save public charter schools now or shut the door on an innovative and excellent public education open to all students. Any more stalling or delays on the part of legislators betrays students, parents, families and Washington voters.

Thomas Franta
CEO, Washington State Charter Schools Association