The Washington State Education Association announced that it is planning the legal challenge of the state’s latest charter-school law, along with several other plaintiffs.

Share story

Washington state’s largest teacher union is preparing a new lawsuit challenging the state’s latest charter-school law.

The Washington State Education Association announced Thursday evening that it was planning the legal challenge, along with several other plaintiffs that include the Washington Association of School Administrators.

Gov. Jay Inslee allowed a bipartisan bill reviving charter schools to become law on Friday without his signature, which means the publicly funded, privately run schools may operate in Washington state. They are legal in most states.

Nine charters have opened since voters narrowly approved charter schools in 2012, though one has since converted back into a private school. The existing eight serve about 1,100 students in the Seattle, Highline, Kent, Tacoma and Spokane school districts.

In September, the Supreme Court sided with the WEA and other plaintiffs who challenged the 2012 law, ruling that it was unconstitutional because charter schools don’t have public oversight from elected boards and therefore are ineligible for tax money from the state’s general fund.

The new law pays for charter schools with proceeds from the state lottery, which go into an account that’s separate from the general fund.

It also provides more oversight from elected officials by adding the chair of the State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction (or others they may designate) to the membership of the commission that decides which charter schools may open.

The lawsuit will contend that those provisions fail to fix the constitutional flaws identified by the state Supreme Court.