The League of Women Voters has opposed charter schools because they don’t have boards elected by the voters but instead the corporation running the schools appoints the board.
Even though charter schools have been a big fail in Seattle, as we said they were in other states ten years ago, the corporate education advocates still want money for what has shown to be simply one big cash grab by taking away money from PUBLIC schools.
There is a bill, HB (House Bill) 2788, if approved, would allow charter schools to receive levy funding raised by the City of Seattle. This funding has been used previously for PUBLIC schools to supplement state funding.
State House Representative Eric Pettigrew, who has no problem selling his own people down the river, is the lead sponsor of this bill. For examples of his untiring bidding for the moneyed few, see Rainier Beach High Schools responds to the League of Education Voters Attack on its School and Community, Apartheid House Bill 1860: No one wants to split Seattle in two except for Reps. Santos, Pettigrew and oh yeah… Magendanz. Remember him?, and House Rep. Eric Pettigrew, House Bill 1497, mayoral control and the money.
Testimony will be heard in the House Appropriations Committee today at 3:30 PM.
Catherine Ahl, the Education Chair for the League of Women Voters of Washington, will be giving testimony regarding this proposed legislation. To follow is a copy of what she will be saying in front of the committee.
Here is her testimony
I am Catherine Ahl, Education Chair for the League of Women Voters of Washington, here to oppose HB 2788. The League of Women Voters has opposed charter schools because they don’t have boards elected by the voters but instead the corporation running the schools appoints the board. We support full funding by the state for public schools. The state currently isn’t fully funding special education or funding support staff because of the outdated prototypical school model.
Now is not the time to ignore these problems and provide extra funding for charter schools. This bill will take more funds out of the WA Opportunity Pathways account, which is also supposed to fund various scholarships, grants, and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance program – approximately $7,800,000 in 2021-23 and $8,200,000 in 23-25.
Since charter schools were first authorized, five have closed, one is under a stay of revocation of its charter, two are being investigated on violating Special Education laws, and one is being required to file annual reports on its financial viability. Of the five that have closed, four were awarded grants of over $1 million from the federal charter schools’ program according to the Network for Public Education. It makes one wonder how much total state funding went to these closed schools.
Looking at Washington’s charter schools’ track record, now is not the time to provide more money to charter schools that may close in the future.
Here is the failed history of charter schools in Seattle
First Place Scholars (K-5) Seattle – Opened 2014, Closed 2015
SOAR Academy (K-5) Tacoma – Opened 2015, Closed 2019 – financial constraints
Green Dot Destiny (6-8) Tacoma – Opened 2016, Closed 2019 – enrollment & operational challenges
Green Dot Excel (7-9) Kent – Opened 2016, Closed 2019 – enrollment & operational challenges
Ashe Preparatory Academy (K-2, 6) Kent – Opened 8/2019, Closed 10/2019 – enrollment, staff exodus
Willow (6-8) Walla Walla – Opened 2018 – under a Stay of Revocation **
Summit Sierra (9-12) Seattle – Opened 2016 – Special Ed. Investigation **
Summit Atlas (6-12) W. Seattle Opened 2017 – Special Ed. Investigation **
Rainer Valley Leadership Academy (6-12) SE Seattle – Opened 2017 – must demonstrate financial viability yearly, new contract separating from Green Dot.
How much state funding did the five closed schools receive? How much state funding have the four schools being looked into/investigated received?
If you wish to leave a message for your state Senator and Representatives, call the Legislative HOTLINE at 1-800-562-6000.
Any legislative number can be reached via the state Telephone Relay Service at 1.800.833.6384 (voice) or 1.800.833.6388 (TTY).
You may also send an e-mail message to your legislator by using the legislator e-mail services at http://app.leg.wa.gov/memberemail/.
A related article posted this week in the Washington Post:
The 5 most serious charter school scandals in 2019 — and why they matter
If it’s behind a paywall for you, I will publish it in a future post.