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Sunday, March 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Public support for embattled charter schools key, McMorris Rodgers says at Pride Prep visit

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers visited one of Spokane’s charter schools, Pride Prep, in a show of support Monday.

“We need to say ‘yes’ to charter schools,” she said. “We need to impress that upon the governor and Legislature.”

A Washington state Supreme Court decision ruled state funding for Washington’s charter schools unconstitutional earlier this month. The ruling came shortly after Spokane’s two charter schools opened.

Pride Prep students shared their experience at the school with McMorris Rodgers. Students said they felt engaged at Pride Prep and looked forward to school.

McMorris Rodgers also spoke with director and founder Brenda McDonald, toured the school and met with Spokane International Academy founder and director Travis Franklin.

“I think we just need to keep telling the story,” McMorris Rodgers said when asked what needs to be done to keep charter schools open.

On Friday the state Supreme Court granted a request by the Washington State Charter Schools Association to extend the deadline to file a motion for reconsideration. The association now has until Oct. 23. That means Washington charter schools should receive state-allocated money, said Thomas Franta, CEO of the association.

The added time will allow the association to evaluate its position and meet with lawyers.

The first state apportionment will be sent to charter schools Sept. 30 and represents 9 percent of this school year’s allocation. The operating cost of all nine Washington charter schools is between $14 million and $15 million for the year.

Franta said in a previous interview that if the schools lose all state funding, the association has private money lined up to keep the schools open through the end of the year.

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