Randy Dorn, Washington State’s top schools official, is asking state legislative leaders to amend the state’s new charter school law so that his office supervises the new schools.
Dorn has repeatedly said he thinks the law, which voters passed in November, violates Washington’s constitution because it calls for the creation of a new, appointed charter school commission that would authorize and supervise charter schools.
Dorn, the state’s elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, says the constitution makes him responsible for supervising all public schools, including charters. Dorn has said repeatedly that he may challenge the new law in court as well as ask legislators to change the way charters will be governed.
In his letter to lawmakers, Dorn said he said he is not arguing for or against charters, just who oversees them.
The new law, which allows up to 40 charters to open in Washington state, gives school boards the chance to authorize charters, too, but also sets up the new commission. In his letter, Dorn said charter schools that are approved and overseen by the commission would not be directly accountable to the public.
“The Commission is the state level administrator, while the Charter School Boards provide local administration,” he wrote. “These unelected bodies will have the power to spend the peoples’ money without being accountable to the people.”
Because the initiative was passed just this fall, two-thirds of legislators in the House and the Senate would need to approve any changes.