Dorn asks lawmakers to revise charter school law

State schools chief Randy Dorn today asked legislative leaders to amend the voter-approved charter school law so his office rather than an independent commission oversees the publicly funded, privately run schools.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders of both political parties, Dorn says the state constitution assigns responsibility for “all matters pertaining to public schools” to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

But Initiative 1240, which he opposed, establishes the Washington Charter School Commission and allows it to manage and enforce charter school contracts independent of his office.

This structure is clearly unconstitutional, but can be easily repaired,” he writes. A simple amendment to make the Superintendent of Public Instruction the elected official responsible for the administration of education, responsible for state level administration of the new Charter Schools would create a structure consistent with the Constitution, and our current system of public school governance.

The voters have decided in favor of creating a new system of public charter schools. By working together on some simple language changes to I-1240, we can honor that decision without violating our constitutional system of education governance.

For months, Dorn’s talked of challenging the legality of the initiative in court. Today’s letter signals his desire to avoid a nasty legal fight by legislative means. But the amendment he seeks must be passed by a two-thirds majority in both chambers which is a tall order

If it doesn’t happen a lawsuit is still possible.

“He’s not ruling it out,” said OSPI spokeswoman Kristen Jaudon.

Meanwhile, the Washington Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, is pondering a legal challenge of the charter school law as well.

And while opponents are mulling their next step, the state Board of Education today rolled out proposed rules for implementing the law. The board plans to adopt the rules by March 6.

More in Local News

A customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
How can Everett Station become a vibrant part of city?

A neighborhood alliance focused on long-term revitalization will update the public Tuesday.

Man arrested after police find van full of drugs, cash and guns

An officer on patrol noticed a vehicle by itself in the middle of a WinCo parking lot at 2 a.m.

After work to address issues, Lynnwood gets clean audit

The city has benefited from increased revenues from sales tax.

Bolshevik replaces BS in Eyman’s voters pamphlet statement

The initiative promoter also lost a bid to include a hyperlink to online coverage of the battle.

Man with shotgun confronts man on toilet about missing phone

Police say the victim was doing his business when the suspect barged in and threatened him.

Detectives seek suspect in woman’s homicide

Alisha Michelle Canales-McGuire was shot to death Wednesday at a home south of Paine Field.

Car crashes near Everett after State Patrol pursuit

The driver and a second person in the car suffered injuries.

Injured hiker rescued near Granite Falls

Woman fell and hit her head on a rock Saturday, and her condition worsened overnight.

Two teens struck by truck in Lynnwood

The teens, between the ages of 14 and 16, were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Most Read