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Archive for Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Coalition of Kansas school districts files new lawsuit challenging education funding in state

November 2, 2010

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School finance lawsuit petition ( .PDF )

— As Kansas voters elected state officeholders Tuesday, advocates for more school funding filed a lawsuit alleging that the Legislature has violated the Constitution by short-changing public school students.

“This situation is ridiculous,” said Schools For Fair Funding attorney Alan Rupe. “Kansas school children should not have to go to court every few years to get what the Kansas Constitution dictates and what the Kansas Supreme Court and every other responsible adult in the state of Kansas wants for kids -- an adequate education,” he said.

Schools For Fair Funding is a coalition of 63 school districts representing 152,811 students.

A 2006 Kansas Supreme Court settlement of an earlier school finance lawsuit was reached after the Legislature adopted a three-year funding plan.

The plan called for $755 million in new funding, but since then the Legislature and governor have cut $300 million from schools.

“This trainwreck was certainly foreseeable,” said John Robb, general counsel for Schools For Fair Funding. “Those who oppose public education never intended to make good on their commitment to children of Kansas. They intentionally cut state revenues and then plead poverty when it came time to fund the formula.”

Supporters of the cuts have said they were necessary as tax revenues dropped when the recession hit Kansas.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Shawnee County, now will be forwarded to a three-judge panel to hear the case.

The lawsuit does not seek an overhaul of the current school finance formula. “The current formula simply needs to be funded,” Robb said. “Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The formula doesn’t need to be abandoned in some smoke and mirrors, illusory change,” he said.

Comments

jesse499 3 years, 5 months ago

Give me more money so we can build more schools instead of using the ones we have. Give me more money so the higher ups in the schools system can raise there pay. If they would do something about the trouble making kids in the schools so the good teachers stayed instead going to other jobs because the parents are not doing there job at home and they end up spending there time being babysitters.Tthe parents blame the schools when there not doing anything to help them at home and if a teacher says there having a problem with a kid the parents blame the teacher because my kid wouldn't do that ! Give them some help people then maybe they could do the job there hired to do and not fear for there life walking the hall ways. Theres alot of good kids that are getting short changed because the teachers have to put up with the bad ones and there no allowed to do anything about it and not getting any help from higherups or parents.

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consumer1 3 years, 5 months ago

and our tax dollars are funding these attourneys while they do this. Sounds like the old progressive against wal mart law suit doesn't it. the tax payers take it in the shorts again thank to the elite progressive left.

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whats_going_on 3 years, 5 months ago

I know where 18 million is that could have been used for schools!

Just sayin.

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KS 3 years, 5 months ago

merrill - You are starting to sound like a conservative! Nah! Silly me! Sorry!

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cheeseburger 3 years, 5 months ago

Scott - it certainly would have made your article more interesting if you would have indicated area districts participating in the suit, or to mention that no area districts are participating. Would that have required too much effort on your part to 'finish' your article?

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 5 months ago

Keep a very close eye on USD 497 spending and plans for spending!!!

How should the school district pay for a $16.5 million maintenance backlog in elementary schools? http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/oct/how_should_school_district_pay_20_million_maintena/

I say best take care of existing resources first instead of further neglect.

There is talk about portable buildings. Remove them and build on that existing ground. No new school buildings for several years thank you. Repair and expand on existing sites.

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frankfussman 3 years, 5 months ago

Giving the Keys Back to the Folks Who Crashed the Car www.huffingtonpost.com The 2010 election was the political equivalent of the perfect crime: The GOP vigorously challenged all measures to fix the economy and was then rewarded for it at the polls by transferring the blame.

‎"Former US President George W Bush has... said he "felt like the captain of a sinking ship" towards the end of his presidency when dealing with recession, according to his new book." ...so he left the sinking ship to Captain Obama.

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Godot 3 years, 5 months ago

This is the year to bring forth a constitutional amendment correcting the vague language of "a suitable education." The state government of Kansas should not be required to fund anything other than reading and writing of the English language, math, civics, history and science. These are basic necessities. Let the local school districts propose to offer additional areas of study, and let the local taxpayers decide if they want to fund them.

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olddognewtrix 3 years, 5 months ago

In this discussion it is not recognized that the Ks Legislsture did its own study several yrs ago about what it took to meet the constitutional requirment to provide a suitable eductrion level, and the Legislature ignored its ownstudy results. that was the basis of the Ks Supremee court order of sevral yrs ago that hhe legislature had failed it constitutional requirements.It stil is ignoring its duty under the constitution of Ks.

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Godot 3 years, 5 months ago

"Coalition of Teachers Unions files lawsuit challenging education funding in order to increase their salaries."

Fixed it for ya, Jonathan.

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antacid 3 years, 5 months ago

awesome another reason to increase taxes.

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KS 3 years, 5 months ago

The school districts already have enough money. This isn't for the "chillin", this is for the lawyers.

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weeslicket 3 years, 5 months ago

regarding the topic*: this is the sentence we are arguing about: "The legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state." (did you find it yet?)

6: Finance. (a) The legislature may levy a permanent tax for the use and benefit of state institutions of higher education and apportion among and appropriate the same to the several institutions, which levy, apportionment and appropriation shall continue until changed by statute. Further appropriation and other provision for finance of institutions of higher education may be made by the legislature. (b) The legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state. No tuition shall be charged for attendance at any public school to pupils required by law to attend such school, except such fees or supplemental charges as may be authorized by law. The legislature may authorize the state board of regents to establish tuition, fees and charges at institutions under its supervision. (c) No religious sect or sects shall control any part of the public educational funds.

from: http://skyways.lib.ks.us/KSL/constitution/art6.html

*you are welcome ljworld.

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irvan moore 3 years, 5 months ago

so they use our money to sue us for more money? no wonder we're in trouble.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 5 months ago

"Moving more of the funding to the local level" - Why? Is he going to reduce our taxes accordingly so we can afford to fund our own USD 497?

Or is he going to keep our tax dollars and allow us to make up the difference?

Does he want to keep our tax dollars to fund corporate charter schools?

While I understand this is not a new idea it may well be a tool known as smoke and screen in the present tense.

Taxpayers should wait for details before we get too excited. It's the details that have been missing on the campaign trail.

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Clevercowgirl 3 years, 5 months ago

I fully agree with you with respect that fewer parents today take on the responsibility of raising a citizen. And I would probably agree that the schools are increasinly taking on roles that should be a parental duty. Unfortunately, you need a license for a dog, but anyone can have a baby.

But......I don't think that cutting educational funding will do anything but hurt children and teachers.

Here's an idea. Let's get some auditers to review spending at all school districts. And give the legislature the power to put school districts "On Improvement" for spending.

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George Lippencott 3 years, 5 months ago

Well, the facts are that total educational spending is at or near an all time high. Perhaps the decision to expand "education" to include all sorts of social services other than education is the contributor to the problem. To the tax payer it keeps going up while to the teacher the added distraction of special social needs makes it harder.

I am not sure the argument of "for the children" will continue to work. Reform is needed to refocus education on education and to force the parent to participate. It may seem a good idea to replace malingering parents with social programs to avoid the perceived social costs of neglecting the kids. So far that does not seem to be working. It is angering many people who feel that they must contribute one more time to carry those who will not do their civic job.

And don't tell me about the poor. The poor today are infinitely better off then the poor back when I went to school and schools existed to educate.

One of the significant budding wars within is about the lack of civic responsibility and the propensity of one philosophy to excuse and subsidize it.

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Clevercowgirl 3 years, 5 months ago

I am continually amazed that any teachers would be willing to do the tremendous job that they do. The disrespect that is shown in these posts, is the disrespect that they deal with every day. I would challenge each of you, Commuter, KS, and Mutt, to spend one day in an elementary school observing. You would quickly learn that the teachers want to teach, but instead, have to deal with "behaviors" , and the kids who are good and want to learn are penalized. This is not a suck it up situation. Maybe if parents would do their job, and set a good example, there would be more learning going on. Regardless, our current school financial situation was not created by the teachers, it was created by our society which values personal disposable income, more than the education of our children.

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kansasmutt 3 years, 5 months ago

Too bad they dont put so much into teaching anymore. All they care about is only 12 kids to a classroom and a billion dollar school building.

Just think of the billions and billions they would have to teach with if they wouldnt waste it all on those shiny new schools with dwendeling numbers in student populations.

I hope the judge who works this case can find it in his heart to set the teachers straight and throw this suit out. And to top it off fire 80% of them to get teachers in place to teach , not bitch.

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KS 3 years, 5 months ago

When will these school districts learn that "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH"? The only winners in this are the LAWYERS! How many dollars has this country spent on education over the last 40-50 years with a pathetic result? Hope the Legislature stands up to the Kansas Supremes on this on.

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commuter 3 years, 5 months ago

Easy solution, since the school districts are arguing that they do not get enough money from the state, the state should give them more money and then repeal the sales and real estate exemptions for school districts and cut the amount of grants given to the districts by the state. Granted that is easier said than done and no one would ever do that except me because the issue isn't just how much they get from the state it is how they spend it!!!

A couple of years ago, I was talking to a Johnson County client of mine at his office his high school dauhter came and started to complain about not getting enough money from him. Granted I have known them for years but I couldn't resist asking her how she spent the money he gave her. After listening to her for a few moments, I explained to her that she was spending her money on wants and that her parents were providing her with housing, food, a car, clothing, insurance and medical insurance and she was getting a better deal now than she probally would if she had to actually work. She was pissed at me because I didn't side with her and she stormed out. He dad called her a "Johnson County spoiled brat" and she would some day come to realize you can't have everything you want. Maybe someday the schools will learn this concept.

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Clevercowgirl 3 years, 5 months ago

Well, as of today, this lawsuit is vital to the educational well being of our children. Brownback will do his best to gut state funded education. He will do his best to shift the costs of education to the local level, and if successful, will cause an even greater disparity in educational quality around our state. This is a sad day for the children of Kansas.

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George Lippencott 3 years, 5 months ago

So unelected judges (a very few) will decide the level of my state taxes?? That was not what the framers had in mind

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Truth 3 years, 5 months ago

There's more to educating students than raising test scores. When the legislature cut funds to school districts across the state, districts didn't cut their reading or math programs . It was the art programs, the library budgets, the vocal and musical programs, the vo-tech programs. Students need creative outlets and fully-funded libraries with full-time librarians. It's my understanding that some area schools close their libraries half the day - what kind of message is that sending to students?

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Steve Jacob 3 years, 5 months ago

Money has to come from somewhere. You want more taxes or big cuts? The state voters today are pretty clear they want big cuts.

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itwasthedukes 3 years, 5 months ago

Why put any limits on education spending? As a matter of fact why limit any spending? Oh yeah maybe because with out the federal government plugging the hole last year teachers would have been fired unfortunately Kansas doesn't have a printing press for money. Thats it! We need to buy a money printing press then the problem is solved! I love how all of you think this is about the kids! Useful idiots.

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OreadHawk 3 years, 5 months ago

what part of NO MONEY dont these people get? get out there and earn a real living !

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HalsteadHawk 3 years, 5 months ago

How much are the schools receiving per student right now?

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Ricky_Vaughn 3 years, 5 months ago

Don't get mad at the teachers. The administrators make all the money.

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Ray Parker 3 years, 5 months ago

The violation of the separation of powers committed by the Kansas Supreme "court" in 2006, ordering lawmakers how much to spend on what, is one reason we need to vote NO on retention of any Kansas Supreme "court" "judge."

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rockchalk1977 3 years, 5 months ago

The whining crybaby teachers union is at it again. There is almost no correlation between increased funding and higher test scores. They will never have enough money!

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 5 months ago

Good deal. Gotta do what ya gotta do to make republicans understand that education is more important than they are willing to accept.

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