Close the schools? Washington education chief says 'final remedy' might get Legislature to act | KUOW News and Information

Close the schools? Washington education chief says 'final remedy' might get Legislature to act

Jun 9, 2016

Close down public schools in Washington.

State education chief Randy Dorn says that drastic action might be needed to force the Legislature to find enough money to pay for public schools.


"I believe most people are going to blame the Legislature for not funding basic education, and they will get mad at their Legislature," Dorn told KUOW's Bill Radke. "The one thing legislators don't like is their constituents being mad at them for not doing their jobs."

The Legislature is under a state Supreme Court order in the McCleary case to deliver a school funding plan that satisfies state constitutional requirements.

In a court brief filed Wednesday, Dorn says the Legislature failed to do that this year.

He listed a number of possible actions.

He said the court could fine individual legislators -- it's already fining the Legislature $100,000 a day.

It could halt tax breaks, such as the big one for the aerospace industry -- Boeing is the main beneficiary.

He said the court could also stop school districts from spending special levy money or keep the state from spending money on other things.

Or it could close the schools. Dorn, who is not running for re-election, said in the brief that was a "possible final remedy."

Dorn told Radke that some wealthier districts are doing a good job educating their kids. But that's not the case in poorer districts.

"A lot of minority and poor kids aren't getting a 21st-century education," he said. "This is a fairness issue. This is a civil rights issue.