To the editor:
I agree with the March 11 Saturday Column: We elect people to office to be leaders, whether to the City Commission or the state Legislature.
Our Legislature has been creating the current education funding crisis for years. Their mantra since the 1980s has been no new taxes. They decided to control spending by controlling the state’s income. Since that time, a shift occurred in the perception of the role of schools and the shift is now complete. Schools must teach all children – regardless of special needs, desire or ability.
The schools that members of our Legislature attended are gone. Schools are no longer allowed to sort students and allow those who “don’t get it” to merely drop out. As the economics of reaching all children became evident, school districts started raising the money through local taxes since the Legislature abdicated its role as a leader. A great inequity grew as a result. Blue Valley, Olathe and other districts found their patrons willing and able to foot the bill while other school districts, especially those with larger at-risk groups, were not as fortunate. This is the problem the Kansas Supreme Court is attempting to fix: inequity.
The quality of a child’s education should not depend on where the child’s parents live. The Legislature responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling this session by attempting to make the court irrelevant. They have been enthusiastic about maintaining the status quo. This Legislature has worked long and hard at creating this problem and I expect them to lead themselves out of it. We elect people to public office to lead.