OSPI: Closing schools could motivate legislature to fund education

Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn has asked the State Supreme Court to take dramatic steps to force lawmakers to fully fund K-12 education.

SEATTLE - In a legal brief filed Wednesday, Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn suggested to State Supreme Court justices closing public schools is one of five ways lawmakers could be motivated to fund public schools. 

The filing is part of the McCleary ruling aftermath, one which has now led the court to hold the legislature in contempt for not fulfilling its "paramount duty" to fund education.

"Tougher sanctions are needed," said Dorn in a statement, "It is clear by now that the Governor and Legislature will continue to ignore the court and continue to avoid doing their constitutional duty until the Court does something dramatic."

Dorn, who is not running for re-election, presented the court five options, including holding individual lawmakers in contempt, withholding levy money, tax credits and other funds and most notably, closing all schools until the legislature "makes real progress".

"I don't think kids should pay the price for the timeline this is on," said Rep. Chris Reykdal (D-Tumwater), Vice Chair of the House Education Committee and one of four candidates for Dorn's position.

"To shut down schools when there's still a year-and-a-half on the timeline seems inappropriate," added Reykdal, "But again, the sense of urgency is what he's trying to share."

Lawmakers are mandated to have a plan to fund public education by 2018.  In the last six years, the legislature has appropriated $2,000 more per student.

Copyright 2016 KING


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