Archive for Friday, July 8, 2005

Opponents agree schools should stay open

Supreme Court to hear arguments this morning

July 8, 2005


— Both sides in the public school finance battle will ask the Kansas Supreme Court today to allow schools to open as scheduled this coming school year.

"There is nothing here to close schools over," Alan Rupe, an attorney for students who won a lawsuit against the state, said Thursday. "We will be suggesting keep the schools open."

Late Wednesday, the Legislature completed a 12-day special session by approving a $148.4 million increase to schools in response to a court ruling that Kansas schools were underfunded.

At 9 a.m. today, state attorneys and Rupe will appear before the Supreme Court, which had threatened to close schools if the Legislature failed to meet its order.

The possibility of delaying the opening of schools prompted many districts, including Lawrence, to start contingency plans for the disruption of school.

But Rupe said the new legislation represented "a good-enough first step."

On the other side, Atty. Gen. Phill Kline, whose office has fought the lawsuit, said the funding package should satisfy the court.

"Those monies should be allowed to flow to the classroom without court interference," Kline said.

But Rupe said there were parts of the new measure that need fine-tuning.

And, he said, the ultimate remedy must be followed up next year when the Legislature considers an education-cost study. The court has said Kansas must fund the actual costs of education.

The new school finance bill would be funded by existing state revenues and includes $27.7 million in property tax relief. A key issue is whether the court will count those dollars as helping fulfill its mandate. Also, the court could have questions about how the new money is distributed.

The court's mandate arose from a lawsuit filed in 1999 by parents and administrators in Dodge City and Salina, who argued successfully that the state spends too little on its schools and distributes funds unfairly.

Many conservative Republicans, including House Speaker Doug Mays, R-Topeka, said the court had no authority to tell legislators how much to spend.

During the special session, the conservatives tried to advance constitutional amendments to limit the court's power, but those attempts failed.

"This court's unpredictable," Mays said. "They may think they've got the legislative branch on the run and tell us to go back and put more in. Who knows?"

Mays said Democrats and moderate Republicans appear willing to do whatever the Supreme Court wants.

"For all practical purposes, the courts have taken over the school system," Mays said.

House Minority Leader Dennis McKinney declined to predict how the court would view the plan. But he said attorneys for the state are in a better position for Friday's hearing.

"We've at least given our attorneys bullets to go into the gunfight," McKinney, D-Greensburg, said during a news conference.

- The Associated Press contributed to this report.


John1945 12 years, 11 months ago

This is ridiculous. "Oh please Mr. Tyrant, let me kiss your backside. Please usurp my power and let me lick your boots."

Anyone who voted for this coward's errand should be run out of the legislature on a rail. Why would you vote for a coward who let a tyrant take his job away from him/her. You don't need these weasels, all you need are the six unelected tyrants to usurp the authority of the budget.

This is the Kansas City MO school debacle all over again.

Either impeach these treacherous ambulance chasers and start getting these government educrats whipped into shape, or admit that we've become a slave state and resign.

BDub 12 years, 11 months ago

"Either impeach these treacherous ambulance chasers and start getting these government educrats whipped into shape, or admit that we've become a slave state and resign."

ROFL! Ah, John, you kill me. Hilarious!

Bobo Fleming 12 years, 11 months ago

Actually I was the one that put in the quote at this only being the beginning. It was a quote from the right-wing nut case Winston Churchill. I don't expect any of the libs to know that because they are products of our present school system.

Densmore 12 years, 11 months ago

Yes, the melodramatic Churchill was usually quotable and sometimes redundant ("First foretaste," as opposed to a second foretaste, third foretaste...fiftyfirst foretaste). I guess we should have each and every one of his utterances memorized, as well as those from every other significant thinker from the last two centuries (Sorry Corporal Poindexter, I know that it will come as a surprise, but you are not included in that group). On the other hand, maybe we should properly attribute the remarks of others to the source, as most of us were taught to do in public elementary school.

Densmore 12 years, 11 months ago

By the way, Senegal, what was the context of Churchill's remarks? Was he commenting on a vote by a legislative body to fund education for children? If so, then he was, indeed, a right-wing nut case. But I seriously doubt that his remarks were made in that context. If your position is that Churchill would have been allied with you on this matter, you are delusional. If your position is not that Churchill would have been allied with you, then the use of that quote was disingenuous.

Would it be asking too much to get an intellectually honest conservative to contribute to these discussions? I am interested in hearing their views.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 11 months ago

Why support public Schools?

FYI - I have 3 children. 1 started LHS @ 14 in order to play the end he did not make varsity which was a huge disappointment although he maintained a GPA of 3.8-3.9 and is now at KU.

Another began LHS @ 17 in order to facilitate an art portfolio and carried a 3.9 GPA who is attending the Kansas City Art Institute.

Until entering LHS they were homeschooled as is our youngest. We support the public school system for a number of reasons:

  1. They can be an excellent resource for homeschool families in the areas of math,science, music, industrial art and in the case of art LHS has a excellent reputation nationwide as far as higher ed schools are concerned especially among art institutes.

  2. They keep neighborhoods together and make it easier for families who do not have multiple cars and/or cannot afford a bus pass.

  3. Public schools provide good jobs for the community thus putting tax dollars into the local economy...yes it comes back.

  4. Homeschooling is not for everyone and there are a variety of reasons yet each child deserves a chance at a good education.

  5. Certainly many many families cannot afford "private schools".

  6. A variety of scholarships become available by way of public schools.

  7. It's a best bang for the tax buck.

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