This week, on the first day of floor action this session, the Washington Senate passed three bills, SB 5180, dealing with life insurance reserve requirements, (48-0); SB 5879, concerning infant disabilities (48-0); and SB 6194, to redefine charter schools and fund them from the lottery-funded Opportunity Pathways account.
Senate Bill 6194: Concerning public schools that are not common schools. Passed the Senate on Jan. 20, 2016 by a vote of 27-20
Under this bill, charter schools in Washington would remain open and would be funded by constitutionally valid sources. The state supreme court ruled last year that charter schools should not receive public money from the state general fund, because the court does not consider them “common schools” governed by an elected school board. The bill’s provisions respond to the court’s ruling by changing the definition and funding source for charter schools. The innovative public schools would no longer be defined technically as “common schools” and would be funded through the Washington Opportunity Pathways account, which receives money from the state lottery
40th Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island: Excused
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42nd Sen. Doug Ericksen, F-Ferndale: Yes
Senate Bill 6194: Floor Amendment by Senator Billig, to close the state charter school commission and require a charter school to contract with its local school board. Failed in the Senate on Jan. 20, 2016 by a vote of 21-27
This amendment would have repealed the charter school commission and provides that if the schools that had contracted with the commission wish to continue operating as a charter school, they must contract with the board of the school district in which they are located. The school district boards would then have to follow the same requirements established by the State Board of Education as for any other school.
40th Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island: Yes
42nd Sen. Doug Ericksen, F-Ferndale: No
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