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Why League Opposes Charter Schools

Founded by activists who secured voting rights for women, the League of Women Voters has always worked to promote the values and processes of representative government. The League believes in an open governmental system that is representative, accountable and responsive – one that assures opportunities for citizen participation in government decision-making.

Because of these deeply held convictions, League of Women Voters of WA opposed the charter school initiatives of 1996 and 2000, the referendum of 2004 and the initiative that passed in 2012 and was a party to the lawsuit on which the State Supreme Court ruled last Friday, September 4, 2015. League’s position was based in part on the following:

 Washington’s founders adopted unique State Constitutional provisions governing public education in Washington. These provisions required a school system that was controlled by and accountable to the voters whose taxes support the schools, that was general and uniform among all Washington’s children, and that was fully funded by revenue that was protected from diversion to other uses.

 This founding vision for the State’s public schools was confirmed shortly after the State Constitution’s adoption by the Washington Supreme Court which stated that a common school is open “to all children . . . free, and subject to, and under the control of, the qualified voters of the school district” and held unconstitutional a publicly funded experimental school whose management was not controlled by and accountable to the voters. (School Dist. No. 20 v. Bryan, 51 Wash. 498).

 Charter supporters in drafting the initiative that passed in 2012 ignored the unique provisions of the State Constitution and long-standing Washington Court precedent. Private boards selected by non-profit corporations rather than publicly elected by citizens will govern charter schools. Voters will lose their right to elect representatives to oversee the spending of their taxes.

 Charter schools will be exempt from state statutes and rules applicable to school districts and boards, creating a separate and unequal school system – even though Article IX of the Washington state Constitution requires a general and uniform system of public schools.

For these same reasons, LWVWA agrees with the Supreme Court’s decision that affirmed the King County Superior Court’s ruling of December 13, 2013 that Charter Schools are not common schools and therefore are not eligible to receive restricted common school funding from the state.

It is unfortunate that parents and schools were not notified before school starting that the Supreme Court held its hearing on the case in October, 2014. It was clear that the case was pending before the Supreme Court and that the ruling might affect charter school funding when it was issued.

LWVWA has worked hard for many years to assure that Washington State amply funds education, its paramount duty in the State Constitution. Since the legislature was unable to address this sufficiently and the State of Washington is still in contempt of court in the McCleary lawsuit, LWVWA disagrees with calls for a Special Session of the Legislature to deal with the Charter School issue. A plan to fully fund our schools that serve one million-plus students, as the McCleary decision calls for, is what is needed for all of Washington’s students.

Meet Your Candidates at October Forums

The League of Women Voters of Kitsap will present the following forums in October. They are free and open to the public. Please come and bring your questions for the candidates.
The forums will be recorded and broadcast by BKAT on Comcast Ch. 12 and Wave Broadband Ch. 13.
Co-sponsors for the forums are the Kitsap Sun, Kitsap Regional Library, NAACP Bremerton Chapter and the Kitsap Historical Society and Museum.
For information see the LWVK website at

Oct.1 – Port Orchard City Council and Mayor
6:30-9 p.m.
Port Orchard City Hall,
216 Prospect St.

Oct. 5 – Poulsbo City Council and North Kitsap School Board
6:30-9 p.m.
Poulsbo City Hall
200 E Moe St.

Oct. 6 – Bremerton City Council and Bremerton School Board
6:30-9 p.m.
Norm Dicks Center
345 6th St., Bremerton

Oct. 8 – South Kitsap School Board
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Port Orchard City Hall
216 Prospect St.

Oct. 13 – Port of Bremerton, Central Kitsap Fire District
6:30-9 p.m.
Norm Dicks Center
345 6th St., Bremerton

Oct. 14 – Bainbridge City Council and Bainbridge School Board
6:30-9 p.m.
City Council Chambers
280 Madison Ave. N, Bainbridge Island

2014 Primary Election Candidate Forums for Kitsap County

It’s time again for the Primary Candidate Forums for Kitsap County so mark your calendars. All of  the forums will be held at the Norm Dicks Hall at 345 6th Street in Bremerton.

Below is the forums schedule.  BKAT will be recording each forum and the recordings will be available for viewing by going to our website at and clicking on the “Program Videos” tab.

Learn about the candidates and be an informed voter.


Monday, July 14   United States Congress, District 6      6:30 p.m.

W. McPherson(I)

Marty McClendon (R)

Douglas Milholland (Green)


Monday, July 21   35th District State Senator      6:30 p.m.

Irene Bowling (D)

Travis Couture (R)

Tim Sheldon (D)

35th District State Representative, Position 1     7:30 p.m.

Kathy Haigh (D)

Dan Griffey (R)

Josiah Rowell (R)


Tuesday, July 22   Kitsap Prosecuting Attorney      6:30 p.m.

Russ Hauge (D)

Tina Robinson (R)

Bruce Danielson (I)

Bob Scales (D)

Kitsap Assessor    7:30 p.m.

Paul Andrews (D)

W. Sean Smith (R)

Gary Sobeck (D)

Phil Cook (R)


Monday, July 28   26th District State Representative, Position 1   6:30

Bill Scheidler (R)

Jesse Young (R)

Nathan Schlicher (D)

Sun Article Features Bev Cobain and League’s Saturday Forum

By Rachel Seymour

POULSBO — Bev Cobain, a retired Bremerton nurse, can’t stress how important it is for people to educate themselves on how to handle suicidal thoughts and depression.

Cobain, who specialized in mental health nursing, has not only battled suicidal thoughts herself but lost three family members to suicide — two uncles and a second cousin, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana.

“You don’t have to live in fear, but you need to be aware,” she said.

Cobain will be one of four speakers at a suicide prevention forum Saturday at Poulsbo City Hall.

Saturday’s forum will address warning signs, how to support those struggling with suicidal thoughts, local services, survivors of suicide and crisis intervention with local law enforcement.

Suicide was not something Cobain’s family talked about, even after it affected them directly. The taboo is slowly fading, she said, but not nearly fast enough.

People still lower their voices when they talk about suicide in public, she said.

“When you are talking about your loved ones, don’t lower your voice,” Cobain said.

According to a report from the Kitsap Public Health District, 20 percent of the county’s 10th-graders reported they had “seriously considered attempting suicide” in 2012, and 32 percent of them felt “sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that they stopped doing some usual activities.”

Teens are more likely to attempt suicide than other age groups, highlighting the need for more youth outreach, according to according to Kelly Schwab, program manager for the Crisis Clinic of the Peninsulas. Local and national increases in senior suicides also have been noted.

The county health district reported the highest rate of suicide deaths in people 65 and older from 2002 to 2011 with 20 deaths per 100,000 people. The county also had significantly more male deaths, 21 per 100,000 people, from suicides than females, five per 100,000.

And this time of year is especially difficult for those struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. As spring changes to summer, the number of suicides rises across the nation, Schwab said.

A lot of people think there is a spike around the holidays, he said, but not as many during this time of year.

It’s uncertain exactly why this trend happens, but Schwab has a theory.

People expect to be stressed or depressed during the winter or around the holidays, and the Crisis Clinic does take more calls during these times. But when spring and summer arrive, people don’t expect depression to stay, Schwab said.

They realize it’s not the weather, he said, it’s internal.

Another misconception about suicide is that it is a choice.

Suicide is the only option a suicidal person sees at that point, Schwab said.

And suicidal people don’t see it as a selfish act.

They convince themselves everyone around them would be better off without them, Schwab said.

Saturday’s forum will discuss other myths about suicide as well as prevention.

Suicide can be shocking, but if you know what to look for you are more apt to notice the signs, Cobain said.

Those signs could help save a life.

Public forum

What: Suicide prevention and community education

When: 10 a.m.-noon Saturday

Where: Poulsbo City Hall, 200 Moe St. NE

Early Learning in Bremerton and the State of Washington

Learn what Washington State is doing to offer seamless high quality programs for children and families so that every child enters school healthy, capable, and confident. Hear about partnerships from birth through higher ed., innovative initiatives underway, and proposed legislation.

February 19, 9:30 a.m. to noon
Eagles Nest, 1195 NW Fairgrounds Rd., Bremerton
Contact: Sharon Shrader  (360 373-9608 All About Voting

A report released earlier this month found that American youth are frequently misinformed when it comes to civic and political issues.

What’s one easy thing that YOU can do to support civic engagement of our community’s young people? Tell the young people you know about VOTE411 and the importance of voting this Election Day!


VOTE411 lets folks easily register to vote, check or update their registration, learn important deadlines, access local voter guides and more. Share this to help make sure the young people you know are civically engaged & ready to hit the polls this Election Day!

Register to Vote!

National Voter Registration Day is Tuesday, Sept. 24, when organizations all across the U.S. will register new voters. The League of Women Voters/Kitsap will register new voters for three days, Sept. 24, 25 and 26, at the following locations:

Sept. 24
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Central Market – Poulsbo, 20144 10th Ave.
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Poulsbo’s Fishline Food Bank & Emergency Services, 18916 NE Third Ave.

Sept. 25
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Olympic College – Poulsbo, 1000 Olympic College Way NW
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Poulsbo’s Fishline Food Bank & Emergency Services, 18916 NE Third Ave.

Sept. 26
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Olympic College – Bremerton, 1600 Chester Ave.
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Bainbridge Island Help Line House, 282 Knechtel Way NE

The Nov. 5 election is mail-in only, which means an address must be provided when you register so that you can receive your ballot. If you have no home address, you may use a friend’s or relative’s address or you can visit your nearest U.S. Post Office to arrange for a general delivery address you can use to receive your mailed ballot. Arrange for this general delivery address before visiting one of the registration locations.

Registration forms and address changes must be in the auditor’s office by Oct. 7. Anyone may register in person at the auditor’s office until Oct. 28.

Forums to Address Behavioral Health Funding

The League of Women Voters of Kitsap will hold three informational forums in August on a possible new sales and use tax increase being considered by the Kitsap County Commissioners as allowed by the Washington State Legislature. The tax of 1/10th of 1% (one penny for every $10 spent) would fund mental health and chemical dependency treatment programs in Kitsap County.

The public is invited to attend these forums:

Bainbridge Island City Hall
280 Madison Ave N
Aug. 15, 6:30-8 pm

Silverdale Community Center
9729 Silverdale Way NW
Aug. 19, 6:30-8 pm

Kitsap County Commissioners’ Chambers
619 Division Street
Port Orchard
Aug. 28, 6:30-8 pm
BKAT will record this session for future airing

For information call 360-692-3571.

Letter to Legislators calls for Fair, Adequate and Flexible Budget

With the second special session winding down, LWVWA calls on Legislators to adopt fair, adequate and flexible state revenue policies. President Kim Abel has sent a message to each legislator:

The League of Women Voters WA requests that you act now to pass a state budget that protects funding for vulnerable residents, protects the environment and steps up to our obligations to K-12 education. The League’s highest legislative priority this year asks you to adopt state revenue policies that are balanced, fair, adequate and flexible so that critical needs are met. Please set aside unrelated policy bills and pass a budget that meets critical needs. Thank you for your work on behalf of all Washingtonians.