Incumbent Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn announced today that he has decided against running for reelection in 2016, which means we will have an open race for OSPI next year.
In a statement sent to NPI and other media outlets, Dorn announced his decision and made it clear he would not be leaving politics:
After long, careful consideration, I have decided not to run for reelection for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2016. This decision doesn’t mean, though, that I am giving up the fight for our students and for a fully funded school system that is consistent with the paramount duty of our state constitution.
I have made no secret of my extreme frustration. Our constitution requires a uniform, amply funded school system. But such a system doesn’t exist today, and I see little, if any, progress toward creating one. The Governor has never offered a plan for reforming levies and reaching full state funding.
Some promising proposals have been introduced in the Legislature, but none have made it even to a committee vote. And the state Supreme Court has yet to impose sanctions meaningful enough to compel the Governor and Legislature to act. Our students need and deserve vigorous action from adults. But neither the Governor, the Legislature nor the Court have provided that leadership.
Regarding my future, I am keeping my options open.
I promise that, no matter what, I will be watching state officials very carefully. Meaningful progress must be made to reform our inadequate, inequitable and unconstitutional school funding system.
As an educator and elected official, I have spent my career fighting for our students. I am not about to stop now.
It has been an open secret in Olympia that Dorn was contemplating stepping down as OSPI, and in fact, two would-be successors have already announced their candidacies: State Representative Chris Reykdal (D‑22nd District; Olympia) and Tacoma school district AVID director Erin Jones, who previously served as the Assistant Superintendent of Student Achievement under Dorn.
Both Jones and Reykdal have filed with the PDC and have been raising money. They may be joined by other candidates now that Dorn has announced his step down.