Archive for Thursday, November 11, 2010

Funding pleas

Kansas education leaders are preparing to do battle with the 2011 Kansas legislators over education funding.

November 11, 2010


Proponents of increased funding for all levels of education in the state appear ready to pull out all the stops to sell that idea to state legislators.

It won’t be easy.

Not only is the state facing the loss next year of nearly $500 million in federal stimulus money, much of which was used to shore up education budgets, but Gov.-elect Sam Brownback already is talking about freezing state spending and revamping the state’s school finance formula for public K-12 schools.

Against that backdrop, efforts by the Kansas Board of Regents to get back some of the money it lost over the last two years seem unlikely to succeed. Regents Chairman Gary Sherrer lobbied legislators last week on behalf of a $50 million increase in the regents budget, which would restore about half of what has been cut.

Also last week, a group of public school districts from across the state decided to employ a considerably bigger stick in an attempt to get the attention of state legislators. As Kansans were casting their votes on Nov. 2, a group known as Schools for Fair Funding already saw the writing on the wall and picked that day to file a new lawsuit alleging that the Legislature wasn’t fulfilling its constitutional duty to fund an adequate education for Kansas youngsters.

Schools for Fair Funding is a coalition of 63 school districts with a total of more than 152,000 students. It’s the second time Kansas school districts have gone to court to fight for school funding. In 2006, the Kansas Supreme Court case ended in a settlement that called for $755 million in new school funding in the next three years. Instead, economic conditions have resulted in $300 million being cut from school budgets during that time.

The lawsuit doesn’t seek changes to the current school finance formula, which was designed to equalize funding and educational opportunities in school districts across the state, large and small, rich and poor. Instead the group says it simply wants the existing formula to be properly funded.

It’s unfortunate that the fight for K-12 funding has once again landed in court, but it’s understandable that school districts thought they had to take a strong stand. Regents’ representatives probably wish they could wield the same kind of constitutional club as they try to convince lawmakers of the need to increase funding for higher education in the state.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 2 months ago

With the new Republican juggernaut coming in, when it comes to deciding between what's best for education/kids, and what's best for the Koch Brothers, guess who's going to come out on top?

texburgh 7 years, 2 months ago

We should not forget how in earlier LJW editorials, the good citizens of Lawrence were urged to vote only for Republicans and then chastised for voting for Democrats. We have these funding problems because Republican majorities from 1993 through 2005 refused to adjust school funding for equity or inflation. In 2006 a Republican majority was forced to fund schools properly through court action. Then federal Bipartisan majorities deregulated their bamking buddies nearly destroying the economy and causing the worst recession since 1929. So back here in Kansas, our Republican majority reneged on ther promise to schools and cut $300 million (nearly every dime they put in as a result of the lawsuit). And making things worse, the Kansas Republican majorities over this last decade cut mostly corporate taxes at the request of their masters at the Koch Policy Institute, the Koch Chamber of Commerce, and Americans for the Koch's Prosperity.

So go ahead, Dolph, lament the chronic underfunding of Kansas' educational institutions and excoriate us for ignoring the rest of Kansas and voting for folks who actually put Kansas above the Kochs.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Dolph!

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