OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Now that the state legislative session is over, there’s lots of criticism that the lawmakers made no progress on fulfilling the state Supreme Court’s McCleary mandate to fully fund schools.
Indeed, Randy Dorn, the state schools superintendent, argues it’s time for the court to come down hard on legislators.
A few weeks back, when it was already clear that lawmakers were going to push their duty down the road yet again, Dorn sat down for an interview with Q13 News with his thoughts about the school funding issue.
Dorn: “They’re under a court order. I mean, as a citizen if I’m under a court order, and there’s an injunction, I actually have to fulfill that to get out from under it, or I go to jail, OK? I go to jail!”
Dorn claims the Legislature’s plan to put off until next year the task of raising nearly $3 billion for schools is unrealistic.
Dorn: “They can’t get it all done in one biennium. It’s too big. It’s too massive. There’s new revenue that has to be done. You have the levy transfer of money. It’s a big deal. They should have been working on this three years ago ... I’ve always said, you know, hey I quit playing kick-the-can when I was 13. I’d hope that they’d grow up. But they didn’t.”
Dorn argues the Legislature’s inaction is perpetuating an unfair system.
Dorn: “We promote the inequities that rich Asian and white kids go to those wealthy districts get more levy dollars, more per-pupil funding than the poor minority kid that’s going to the less wealthy district …The system that we have today, I think, is a violation of kids’ civil rights."
Dorn says he is seriously considering a third-party run for governor, given his frustration with Gov. Jay Inslee and the GOP gubernatorial front-runner, Bill Bryant, over lack of clear school funding plans.