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Inslee lets charter school fix become law, but doesn’t sign it due to ‘deep reservations’

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee has decided to let the Legislature’s charter school fix become law without his signature.

According to The Associated Press, Inslee’s decision announced Friday afternoon is the first time a Washington governor has let a bill become law without his signature since 1981.

The measure is a response to the Washington Supreme Court decision in September that the state’s charter school law adopted by voters in 2012 is unconstitutional. The court took issue with the way the schools were funded and managed.

Charter school supporters were hopeful the governor would sign the bill, but said their top priority was keeping Washington’s eight charter schools open and allowing the new public school system to continue to grow.

In a letter to Secretary of State Kim Wyman, Inslee said, “I remain deeply concerned about the public accountability and oversight provisions of this bill. At its foundation, our public school system relies upon locally elected boards to oversee the expenditures of taxpayer money. This bill provides an option for similar oversight, but would ultimately allow unelected boards to make decisions about how to spend public money. I can think of no other situation where the Legislature or the people would condone that, especially when we are fighting to meet the needs of the almost one million children in our public schools.

“Despite my deep reservations about the weakness of the taxpayer accountability provisions, I will not close schools,” Inslee said.