The Washington Supreme Court, in the McCleary decision, ruled that the Legislature has been significantly underfunding our public schools. The court even retained jurisdiction to ensure progress toward full funding. Ask any legislator and they will tell you that full funding of our schools will take years to achieve.
Add to this the corporation-inspired initiative to establish charter schools in Washington. I-1240, the charter schools initiative, would add significant additional costs to the state, according to the fiscal note attached to the initiative. There could also be additional costs to individual school districts. This extra cost will diminish already skimpy pubic school resources.
Additionally, charter schools are the first step onto the slippery slope of privatizing our public schools. Just because I-1240 allows only nonprofits to run charters, that doesn’t mean the charter school authorizers aren’t paid for their services. Charter schools are funded according to the statewide teacher salary schedule. They can, however, pay teachers whatever they want and keep the extra cash for themselves.
The truth is, charter schools are not public schools at all; they are publicly funded, privately run schools. Voters should insist on full funding for our truly public schools before even considering charter schools.