“It’s very frustrating. These schools are doing everything we wanted them to do, but they can’t get the funding,” said Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah. He is sponsoring a bill that would provide charters with more money for tutoring, English language learners, highly capable and special needs students, and transportation.
But Washington’s constitution says only schools governed by a locally elected board can use levy funds for these extras, which cuts out charters. The workaround favored by Mullet is a pot of money known as the Local Effort Assistance program. In general, LEA funding is aimed at districts unable to raise enough through local levies because of low property values. But in 2019, the state agreed that tribal compact schools, which also run without a locally elected board, could access LEA money.