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Gov. Chris Gregoire would create new education department; schools chief would serve under appointed education secretary

Post by Brad Shannon / The Olympian on Jan. 5, 2011 at 10:30 am |
January 5, 2011 1:34 pm

Gov. Chris Gregoire is announcing a major proposal to shake up the state schools establishment, creating a new Department of Education to govern preschool through college education.

The move, which is being announced this moment at the Capitol, would abolish the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction but retain Superintendent Randy Dorn‘s role as elected leader of the K-12 portion of the new agency.

The move could require a constitutional amendment.

The proposal comes on the heels of Monday’s report by Gregoire’s task force on education, which called for greater tuition setting authority for colleges and creation of a private $1 billion endowment for higher education.

The new department would report directly to the governor – making this the latest in a series of proposals that consolidate power in the Governor’s Office.

The Legislature agreed to make the secretary of transportation directly appointed by the governor a few years ago, despite retaining the Transportation Commission. Late last year, Gregoire proposed a similar take-over of several agencies she wants to merge – including the Department of Fish and Wildlife, state parks and the Conservation Commission.

Here’s a link to The Associated Press story on the topic: Gregoire calls for new education department

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