Governor pledges to veto charter schools bill

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Gov. Chris Gregoire is vowing to veto a measure to bring charter schools to Washington state.

A charter schools bill died in the Legislature during the session that ended last week. The issue was revived by Senate Republicans and a handful of Democrats who announced it as part of their new budget plan at a Thursday news conference.

Washington is one of eight states without charter schools. Voters have three times rejected allowing them to operate in the state, in 1996, 2000 and 2004. The Legislature rejected charter school bills on several other occasions before they reached the ballot.

Gregoire said that bringing up the issue of charter schools now distracts from efforts to negotiate and pass a budget.