By a vote of twenty-six to twenty-three, the Washington State Senate has concurred in the House of Representative’s amendments to E2SSB 6194, Steve Litzow’s bill to bail out charter schools, which were declared unconstitutional by the Washington State Supreme Court in League of Women Voters last autumn.
The vote was mostly along party lines, though Democrats Mark Mullet and Steve Hobbs crossed over to help the Republicans pass the bill, while Republicans Brian Dansel and Kirk Pearson joined the remaining Democrats in voting against it.
Charter schools bailout
Senate vote on Final Passage as Amended by the House
Yeas: 26; Nays: 23
Voting Yea: Senators Angel, Bailey, Baumgartner, Becker, Benton, Braun, Brown, Dammeier, Ericksen, Fain, Hewitt, Hill, Hobbs, Honeyford, King, Litzow, Miloscia, Mullet, O’Ban, Padden, Parlette, Rivers, Roach, Schoesler, Sheldon, Warnick
Voting Nay: Senators Billig, Carlyle, Chase, Cleveland, Conway, Dansel, Darneille, Fraser, Frockt, Habib, Hargrove, Hasegawa, Jayapal, Keiser, Liias, McAuliffe, McCoy, Nelson, Pearson, Pedersen, Ranker, Rolfes, Takko
E2SSB 6194 now heads to Governor Jay Inslee. Inslee has not said what he will do with the bill. We at NPI urge him to veto it in its entirety.
Your paramount duty is to fund our public schools. It is not appropriate to tell the one million children in our public schools that they must wait at least two more years for that duty to be met while at the same time suddenly coming up with new money for private charter schools.
We’re extremely disappointed that majorities in each house have seen fit to ignore the Supreme Court’s orders in McCleary, leaving over a million kids in the lurch, while bending over backward to ensure that the twenty-two lobbyists working for a charter schools bailout got what they and their employers wanted.
The Supreme Court, a coequal branch of our government, spoke loudly and clearly when it said charter schools are unconstitutional, just as it did in McCleary when it ruled that Washington’s schools were being massively underfunded. But legislators aren’t listening. They’ve been held in contempt. They’ve been fined. They’ve been repeatedly instructed to do their jobs. And yet, they collectively refuse to act.
Proponents of this legislation keep talking about saving schools.
If the majorities that passed these bills really care about Washington’s kids, why aren’t they working on progressive revenue reform to get our public schools the funding they need? Our public schools are the schools that need saving — not charters! The wealthy interests that favor diverting public money to schools that are not publicly owned and operated for the benefit of all have more than enough money to keep the eight remaining charters open without a dime from taxpayers.
Governor Inslee should recognize this and uphold the Supreme Court’s decision in League of Women Voters by vetoing E2SSB 6194. If the legislative branch will not respect the decisions of our judiciary, at least the executive department should.