Education
9:44 am
Fri September 30, 2011

State school's chief defies Gregoire's request for list of cuts

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington schools chief Randy Dorn has defied a request by the governor to provide a list of new education budget cuts. Instead, Dorn sent Governor Chris Gregoire a letter that explains why he told his staff not to respond to her request.

Last month, Gregoire asked all state agencies to prepare a list of additional budget cuts in the 5- to 10-percent range. Washington now faces a new $2 billion budget shortfall.

But elected schools superintendent Randy Dorn refused. He wrote the governor that to propose cuts that deep would violate his oath of office.

In a phone interview, Dorn added he could not "in good conscience" participate in the budget cutting exercise.

"I think if there's any more cuts kids are going to get a lesser education than they got three years ago," Dorn said. "And the paramount duty of the state is an ample education."

A spokeswoman for Gregoire says: "There's no doubt that the governor values education as much as Randy Dorn. But at this point we can't draw lines in the sand."

Gregoire's budget office will instead model the cuts. They could include all day kindergarten and levy equalization dollars that go to property-tax poor school districts.

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