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State schools chief Dorn asking legislators for authority over charter schools

Post by Brad Shannon / The Olympian on Jan. 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
January 28, 2013 6:28 pm

Washington schools superintendent Randy Dorn has sent state lawmakers a request to alter language in the charter schools initiative that voters approved in November. The Associated Press is reporting Dorn sent a letter asking legislators, who open a 105-day regular session on Monday, to give him authority over the schools:

Dorn says the law, which was approved by voters in November, is unconstitutional because it establishes a separate system of public schools, run by an independent, unelected agency. The state constitution says the superintendent of public instruction is in charge of all matters pertaining to public schools.
 
He says the problem can be easily fixed by a simple amendment.

The Washington Education Association has been reported to be planning a lawsuit seeking to overturn the initiative, which WEA has argued is a diversion of scarce resources from already-underfunded public schools.

Dorn had indicated before he would sue to accomplish changes to Initiative 1240, which passed after three failed attempts on the ballot. More than 40 other states allow charter schools, which use taxpayer money but are run under charters separate from rules that govern other public schools.

I-1240 allows up to 40 charter schools to be authorized by a newly created board over several years.

Dorn had not previously listed the charter-schools matter on his legislative agenda.

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