Supporters and opponents of Washington States new charter school law both found good news in a judges ruling today that found part of the charter law unconstitutional.
Both sides agree that King County Superior Court Judge Jean A. Rietschels ruling strikes down the part of the law that would have made charter schools eligible for state construction money because theyre not considered common schools.
But supporters say that part can be carved out of the law and wont stop its implementation.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, whose office defended the laws constitutionality in the case, agrees.
The court has held the vast majority of the charter schools initiative constitutional, and the state will continue to implement this law, he said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
Opponents believe the finding that charter schools arent common schools could affect how the state funds them, said Paul Lawrence, the lead attorney representing the state teachers union and other organizations that filed suit challenging the laws constitutionality.
Lawrence said that charter school proponents had told voters these schools would be the same as regular public schools and the courts ruling determined that they are not the same.
He said the plaintiffs likely will appeal the case to the Washington State Supreme Court.
A coalition led by the state teachers union filed the suit in July asking a judge to declare the law unconstitutional for improperly diverting public school funds to private organizations that are not subject to local voter control and impeding the States constitutional obligation to amply provide for and fully fund K-12 public education.
Lisa Macfarlane, state director of Democrats for Education Reform, which backed the charter school law, said the 22 charter schools seeking approval are not depending on state construction money.
Were thrilled with the judges ruling, Macfarlane said.
Read the full ruling here: