By Moriah Costa
The education future of more than 1,200 charter students in Washington state is in limbo after the Washington State Supreme Court decided Thursday to not reconsider its decision that the state’s charter school law is unconstitutional.
The initial decision was made in September, a few weeks after students returned to class. The schools had received public money while the court considered a request for reconsideration.
Now students at nine charter schools will have to attend their traditional public schools or find other options.
“This is disappointing because it takes away a parent’s choice and leaves many students wondering where they will attend school next year,” Tillie Elvrum, president of publicschooloptions.org, said in a statement.
The lawsuit, filed by a teachers’ union, challenged a law approved by Washington voters in 2012. According to the court’s ruling, the state’s charter schools aren’t “common schools” because they are accountable to an appointed body, not elected officials.
Many parents, legislators, Washington’s charter school association and the state’s current attorney general spoke out against the decision and asked the court to reconsider.
The decision was split, with four justices saying they would have liked to reconsider the ruling, according to the Associated Press.
Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools,urged state legislators to fix the “glitch” in the law that allowed this decision “so that schools stay open and children remain in school.”