Archive for Sunday, June 19, 2005

Protesters decry school ruling

June 19, 2005


— About 100 people Saturday rallied in protest of the Kansas Supreme Court decision that ordered lawmakers to come up with more money for schools.

"The Kansas Supreme Court has misused its power," state Rep. Frank Miller, R-Independence, said. "I shall not acquiesce to the Kansas Supreme Court," he said.

Miller and other speakers said they were duty-bound to defy or rein in the court, describing their stand as similar to the Founding Fathers' fight for independence from England.

Miller said decisions by the Kansas Supreme Court and courts in other states were "small steps in the direction of national suicide."

Richard Hayse, president of the Kansas Bar Assn., said the protesters were off-base.

"This case is like any other. When one party's rights have been violated, the courts are here to describe a remedy," Hayse said. He said legislators who defied the court were threatening the government's system of checks and balances.

Rep. Frank Miller, R-Independence, energizes a gathering of about 100 protesters Saturday at the Capitol.

Rep. Frank Miller, R-Independence, energizes a gathering of about 100 protesters Saturday at the Capitol.

The dispute is over the Kansas Supreme Court's position that the Legislature has failed to provide "suitable" funding for schools, as required by the Kansas Constitution.

Lawmakers return to special session Wednesday to tackle the issue.

In January, the court found the $2.8 billion school finance system unconstitutional, saying that it provided inadequate funds for Kansas' 450,000 students and that the distribution of those funds shortchanged poorer school districts. At that time, the court had told the Legislature to increase school funding based on the actual cost of education and to distribute those funds more fairly.

The Republican-dominated Legislature increased school funding $142 million and allowed local school districts to increase property taxes to supplement schools.

A GOP supporter waives a sign critical of the Kansas Supreme Court, which conservatives argue is overstepping its power and is in conflict with the constitution's separation of powers.

A GOP supporter waives a sign critical of the Kansas Supreme Court, which conservatives argue is overstepping its power and is in conflict with the constitution's separation of powers.

On June 3, the court said the proposal fell short, ordered the Legislature to increase school funding by another $143 million by July 1, and disallowed the option to increase local property taxes, saying that would further widen the gap between rich and poor districts.

Since then, many conservative Republicans have accused the court of overstepping its authority by ordering a specific school funding increase.

"The Kansas Supreme Court has no control over the purse," said Nancy Hanahan, of Overland Park, who carried a sign that read "Just say no. No judicial activism."

"What part of separation of powers do they not understand?" Hanahan said.

Ray Keating, of Overland Park, attended the rally, saying he was concerned about courts becoming activists. "They are allowed to rule on laws but not appropriate monies," he said.

Keating held a sign that read "Stop the Activist Sebelius Court." Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, has appointed one member of the six current justices on the court.

The sponsor of the rally, the conservative Kansas Republican Assembly, had urged protesters to carry signs linking the court to Sebelius.

Tamara Cooper, executive director of the KRA, said she was happy with the turnout. "This is like coming up to the plate. We're ready to swing the bat and had the first ball pitched," she said.

She said legislators should just ignore the court order.

The rally attracted five Republican House members; Mary Pilcher Cook of Shawnee, Lance Kinzer of Olathe, Richard Carlson of St. Marys, John Faber of Brewster and Miller.

The event started outside, but then ralliers moved inside to the second floor of the Capitol.


blakus 12 years, 11 months ago

The Supreme Court is upholding figures found by the legislature's own consultants. This is disgraceful and silly. What is more dangerous than this so-called 'judicial activism' is the fact that our schools are underfunded and missing valuable resources needed to teach our children.

usaschools 12 years, 11 months ago

The only "activists" here are those in the legislature who advocate ignoring a direct order by the highest court in the state! Rule of Law is an important concept we teach our children and is part of the state social studies standards, which I'm sure Frank Miller has never read. I'll say this once more: Over one-half of our state legislators do NOT have a college degree. This speaks volumes about how highly they value education. It also says alot for their ability to interpret a court ruling or the state constitution.

highlander 12 years, 11 months ago

I was there at the rally. The protestors left the south lawn when I arrived to counter their protest. I noted that these public officals did take an oath to support and defend the State"s Constitution and now refuse to recognize the Laws of our State and Nation. I set up signs conveying my opinion that Repubilicans are fascist. I also set up a sign calling for the defense of the Constitution against all enemies. I was visited by reporters and I did proivide the research paper for my position. " Living under Fascism" by Dr. Davidson Loehr of Austin Texas. I also proivided a copy of my poem conveying my opinion of the current political administration at the State and Federal level titled "Culture of Life" dated April 7, 2005. The Republicians did immidatly insult my person, my spouse and did tear up the material to cause the litter of the State Captial Lawn.You can drive down 10th Street,east bound on 10th, between Medford and High to observe these signs. I will continue to expose Fasicism as to it's origins and context. The conclusion as to whom is a Fascist; after all , actions clearify words and Repubilicans cannot hide the truth that the education crisis was a result of their own actions and they have controlled the political process for over six years. Like most bullies, they blame others for incompetence.

continuallyamazed 12 years, 11 months ago

I saw the incredibly inadequate Frank Miller from Independence "leading" the rally against adequate and timely funding for education in Kansas. Unfortunately, I've had the misfortune of dealing with Mr. Miller on other necessary funding issues and he is a prime candidate for REPLACEMENT as a legislator. He can rally his uninformed participants against the much needed funding for our childrens' education and I'll be sure to rally those who will VOTE HIM OUT OF OFFICE should he be so daft to attempt running again for public office. He is disgraceful and acts as if he himself is in much need of EDUCATION. We need legislators who look into the future. That future is dependent on educated young people who will lead our country much more strongly than the likes of Frank Miller.

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