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Democratic senator who pushed charter school funding censured by his party

(AP photo)

Senator Guy Palumbo is a Democrat from Maltby who wanted a school levy bill to fund charter schools, not just public schools. Unfortunately it didn’t go so well for him, and earned him a censure from the state Democratic Party.

“We had this levy bill. I put on an amendment to basically make parity between local levies, between public charter schools and regular public schools,” Palumbo told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “And unfortunately I get censured by the party as a result of it.”

“So I was in Ways and Means yesterday or the day before and lobbyists came up to me and just said, ‘Hey, you got censured by the party,'” Palumbo said. What does it mean to be censured? It means that a committee “passed a resolution that basically says I’m a bad person.”

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Palumbo says he doesn’t understand why there’s such aggressive opposition to charter schools, and sees them as a practical solution that provides an alternative.

“There’s a lot of people that just don’t want to have alternative methods that may or may not hire union teachers, which I understand,” he said. “But you know, even President Obama was for charters. Equity groups are for charters; mostly these charters serve disadvantaged kids, kids of low-income, kids of color, and disproportionately special education.

“And they just provide one little tool in the toolbox for certain people that need something different than the traditional public school model.”

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Initiative 1240 concerning “creation of a public charter school system” was passed in 2012, and then multiple lawsuits from the teachers’ union were launched. The most recent of them went to the Washington State Supreme Court last year, which ultimately decided that Washington’s privately-run, publicly-funded charter schools are constitutional by a 5-4 ruling.

“So, you know, they’re here. They’re legal. The people voted on them and approved them, and the Supreme Court ratified them,” he said. “So at some point people need to move on.”

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