State superintendent suggests shutting down Washington schools

Jun 9, 2016, 11:41 AM

Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn says the state needs to take some extreme steps to ...

Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn says the state needs to take some extreme steps to get the Legislature to pay attention to public education. (AP)


The person in charge of Washington’s public schools is willing to go to extremes to get the state Legislature to start paying more attention to education.

Randy Dorn, the superintendent of public instruction, suggests schools be shut down until the Legislature makes progress on fully funding K-12 education. Dorn filed a court brief Wednesday, The Seattle Times reports.

Related: School superintendent candidate proposes $14k raise for Washington teachers

Dorn argues that the Legislature’s main accomplishment in 2016 to address “deficiencies” in public education, as identified by the state Supreme Court, was “nothing more than a plan to a plan.”

“The problem is not a lack of information; it is the lack of political will to use the information,” Dorn said in his brief.

KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross points out that the court’s only punishment for the Legislature is imposing a $100,000-a-day fine. That, Ross says, has done absolutely nothing. The Legislature has simply kept track of how much it owes but hasn’t paid a cent.

To hold the Legislature more accountable for its actions — or lack thereof — Dorn has several suggestions. That includes holding individual legislators in contempt and fined up to $2,000 a day.

And Dave asks, “Why not?” If the state is willing to fine teachers for striking, why not fine the lawmakers?

Other suggestions include: stopping the payment of property tax money to school districts, effectively shutting them down; order tax break repeals; shut down state government; or, maybe the most extreme suggestion, shut down public schools.

Of course, Dorn doesn’t really have much to lose. He is not seeking re-election to his position as superintendent of public instruction.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

MyNorthwest News

Image: Travelers at Seattle Tacoma International Airport line up and try to get through a security ...

The KIRO 7 staff with wire reports

Sea-Tac Airport, others see summer surge in number of travelers

Sea-Tac Airport is seeing a summer surge in travel with passengers pouring in and through in June. TSA has seen the same nationwide.

2 hours ago

Image: Seattle Police Department officers secured at least 20 guns and many rounds of ammunition du...

Steve Coogan

Seattle officers recover dozens of guns in separate incidents

The Seattle Police Department seized at least two dozen guns in separate incidents, one Friday and another early Sunday.

5 hours ago

Image: A Seattle Police Department vehicle can be seen parked in the city of Seattle....

Bill Kaczaraba and James Lynch

Police search for suspects in fatal West Seattle shooting

In the early hours of Saturday morning, Seattle Police detectives launched an investigation into a fatal shooting in West Seattle.

12 hours ago

Image: Traffic on Interstate 5 north near Centralia was backed up for miles due to roadwork on Mond...

Steve Coogan

Roadwork leads to significant traffic backups on I-5 north; more to come

Roadwork caused significant traffic on I-5 north approaching Grand Mound that at one point extended to more than 20 miles Monday afternoon.

14 hours ago

mount st. helens earthquakes...

Frank Sumrall

Mount St. Helens: Seismic activity brewing with more than 350 earthquakes since February

Mount St. Helens has been stirring as of late after the volcano has experienced 368 earthquakes since the beginning of February.

17 hours ago

seattle sidewalk...

Frank Sumrall

$13M to be owed to woman who lost athletic career falling on Seattle sidewalk

$13.1 million will be awarded to an ultramarathon athlete who suffered an injury after falling on a Seattle sidewalk in 2021, a jury ruled.

19 hours ago

State superintendent suggests shutting down Washington schools