House Education Committee blocks charter school fix

By LIV FINNE  | 
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Feb 25, 2016

Late yesterday afternoon the Chair of House Education Committee, Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-Seattle), removed from today’s agenda the bill to save charter schools, SB 6194. This morning Republicans on the committee tried to put the issue back on the agenda, but their motion failed on a vote of 10-10. The motion required 11 votes to pass and one member of the committee was not present. This means the Education Committee has blocked SB 6194, which passed the Senate last month, from progressing to the House of Representatives for a floor vote.  

Charter school supporters have other ways to bring SB 6194 for a vote in the House of Representatives. Enough Republican and Democratic votes exist in the House to pass this legislation, and to save charter schools. But for the moment, this legislation has been blocked by the House Education Committee.

Charter school students and their families are not giving up. These families are holding yet another rally at noon today in Olympia. One of these students, Heskiyas Wondaferew, a 6th grade student at Excel Public School, said to the House Education Committee last week:

“I am standing in front of you here asking you humbly not to take such a great education away from us. Our future lies in your hands. This education promises me and the rest of the charter school students a future full of success.” (At Time Stamp: 52:59.)  

Charter school children like Heskiyas are hoping Democratic leaders will allow the House of Representatives to vote on this issue that is so critical to their futures. Time is running out. The legislative session is scheduled to end on March 10, just two weeks from today.     

This report is part of WPC’s Charter School Follow-Up Project