Gov. Jay Inslee announced that he would not veto the public charter school bill, and he let it become law April 2.
The new public charter school law ensures Summit Public Schools’ students in Seattle’s International District and Tacoma will continue to thrive.
In a letter explaining his decision, Inslee said he remains concerned about whether there will be adequate public oversight of charter schools, but said he doesn’t want to see the schools shut down.
Summit Public Schools commended “the bipartisan work of Washington state’s legislature for their work on the new public charter school law that honors the will of Washington state’s voters.”
In 2012, Washington state voted to allow publicly funded schools to run privately.
So, students enrolling in charter schools are not required to pay tuition.
Then in September 2015, the Washington State Supreme Court decision proclaimed the use of state funding for charter schools unconstitutional.
Parents, students, and education reform groups, who lobbied hard for the legislature to pass a bill to save the schools, are now breathing easier. Their tireless work ensures that Washington state will continue to offer this much-needed public school choice.
Summit Sierra, on 1025 South King Street, opened its doors in fall 2015 to 100 ninth grade students. It will grow to serve grades 9–12 by the 2018–2019 school year. The Summit Sierra student body consists of ethnically diverse students from the African and Black communities, white students, and Asian students (with majority Chinese, Filipino, and Vietnamese), from 15 different zip codes.
Instead of grades as criteria for admission, the youth were selected through a lottery system.
In a letter, one parent said, “Our child has some learning issues and does not do well unless some special attention can be given to her. Without a learning environment that can cater to her needs and a school that can take the time needed to understand her, she would have fallen through the cracks. We feel so fortunate that a school like Summit exists.”
This is an important reminder to speak up and take action, especially when it comes to issues that affect you or your family. Your voice and your vote do count.
Thank you to the parents who cared and fought for the best education for their children. Thank you lawmakers for putting aside your political differences and collaborating on a bipartisan decision that is good for our state and our children’s future.
It is exciting to see what will unfold next if this spirit of partnership and cooperation continues.