November 2, 2015
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Lawmakers, attorneys general from both parties call on high court to reconsider charter schools ruling



Representatives, senators and former attorneys general from both parties are joining Attorney General Bob Ferguson and countless parents in asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling that voter-approved public charter schools are inconsistent with the state constitution. The Seattle Times and Olympian cover the story.

In their amicus brief, lawmakers -- three from both the House and Senate majority caucuses and two members from each minority caucus -- say that public charter schools fall well within the state constitution. The brief also raises the issues that the Supreme Court's ruling could have implications on other state educational functions, from tribal compact schools to Running Start.

The legislators also note particular concern about the heavy impact of the court's decision on children from low-income backgrounds and children of color, since charter schools disproportionately serve those students: "It is both within the Legislature's authority and duty to support policies targeted toward closing any gaps in opportunities for children from low-income backgrounds and children of color. This Court should not lose sight of these facts."

Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Renton, emphasized this concern: “Charter schools are helping some of our hardest to serve children and families. Providing stability to families and a clear path to success for these students should be one of our highest priorities.”

The lawmakers who signed on to the brief were: state Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island; Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle; Rep. Larry Springer, D-Kirkland; Rep. Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah; Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton; Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens; Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah; Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn; Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia; and Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island.

Also last week, former Democratic Attorney General and Gov. Chris Gregoire and Republican AGs Slade Gorton, Ken Eikenberry and Rob McKenna filed a similar amicus brief urging the justices to reconsider their ruling.

“The opinion will make it very difficult for the current and future Attorneys General to defend challenges to non-common education funding that is appropriated from the state general fund,” said the ex-AGs.

Meanwhile, the parents of the 1,300 students already enrolled in Washington's public charter schools continue to speak out. A Seattle mother who had eagerly looked forward to enrolling in a new West Seattle public charter school next fall shares her heartbreak and disappointment in this recent post. And the low-income mother of a special needs student shares the story how her daughter has been thriving at a public charter school.

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Two-Part Question

Tacoma's Two-Part Minimum Wage Ballot Is Confusing -- Here's an Explainer

Tacoma voters have an important choice, but the ballot is a little confusing. You'll first answer whether you think the city should increase the minimum wage, then a second question whether the wage should rise to $12 or immediately to $15 if a majority of voters want it to increase.

Here's the important part.

Answer the second question no matter what! It does not mean you're voting for a minimum wage increase.

If you don't pick an option on the second half of the measure, it's like picking the option you don't want.

Click here to watch the full video on the Tacoma-Pierce Chamber's YouTube channel
Millennium Bulk Terminals

Timelines are important

By The Daily News editorial board

When it comes to big projects, timelines are important. Last week we learned the timeline for the Millennium Bulk Terminals' draft environmental impact statement was being pushed back. ...

Why are the goalposts being moved? Because it's a coal project?

Whether you support the Millennium coal project or oppose it, you should be upset with how the State of Washington has treated the timeline for this project.

Cowlitz County needs jobs and the Department of Ecology's poor performance isn't helping.
Click here to read the full editorial in The Daily News
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