Archive for Thursday, February 7, 2013

Brownback wants school finance case to go to mediation

February 7, 2013


Related document

Motion for order of mediation ( .PDF )

Related document

Motion to stay lower court ruling ( .PDF )

— State officials on Thursday asked the Kansas Supreme Court to appoint a mediator to resolve a lower court ruling that said the Legislature has failed to provide suitable finance for public schools and ordered at least a $440 million increase in funding.

Gov. Sam Brownback and conservative Republicans have criticized last month’s decision by a three-judge panel and have proposed measures aimed at thwarting the ruling.

The attorney general’s office had earlier appealed the case to the Kansas Supreme Court and on Thursday filed motions to suspend the lower court decision and send the case to mediation.

Brownback requested the motions.

“While the fact remains that the Kansas Legislature should determine a suitable provision for finance of our schools, I believe we owe it to Kansas taxpayers, parents, teachers and students to examine every available avenue to resolve this dispute to the satisfaction of all involved,” Brownback said.

“It is my hope that through staying the decision and allowing all interested parties to give input on how to best fund our schools and get more money into the classroom, our state will maintain its reputation of having great schools and great educational opportunities for our children,” Brownback said.

But House Democratic Leader Paul Davis, of Lawrence, criticized Brownback’s request for mediation.

“Instead of funding schools, Gov. Brownback chose to implement a massive income tax cut last year that primarily benefits the wealthy,” Davis said.

“The court has ruled in favor of Kansas kids on the issue of school finance time and time again, and the governor has made it clear that he disagrees. Today’s motions were just another effort to avoid our constitutional obligation to provide a quality education to our children,” he said.

John Robb, an attorney representing school districts that sued the state, said the schools “are willing to explore anything that might get adequate funding to Kansas kids. The system has been unconstitutional for at least four years now. That is one-third of the education career of a child.”

Robb added, “We are encouraged that the governor is looking outside the box for solutions. We sincerely hope that legislative leaders are on the same page.”

In the motion to the Kansas Supreme Court to stay the order of the three-judge panel, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said, “Everyone — including students, parents, teachers, legislators, and other government officials, and concerned citizens — aspires to satisfy the Kansas constitution’s direction concerning suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of Kansas.”

But, he said, “there are substantial legal and factual disputes in this appeal that bear upon whether that task has been achieved, disputes that need to be resolved ultimately by this court.”

In the motion to send the case to mediation, Schmidt argues that mediation may facilitate a timely resolution of the case while the Legislature is in session and working on the state budget.

Schmidt also said that the confidentiality of the mediation process “will enhance the probability that a settlement can be reached.”


George_Braziller 5 years, 4 months ago

Sammy there's nothing to mediate. All the court did was make a determination based on what's written in the State Constitution.

Mike1949 5 years, 4 months ago

Constitutions mean nothing to browback. That includes the US Constitution. Brownback is doing so much damage to Kansas, not sure I will see a recovery in my life time. The quote, "confidentiality of the mediation process “will enhance the probability that a settlement can be reached" means that a deal can be make under the table. I can't believe our attorney general publicly admitted that he wants a backroom out of the public's view deal.

sci4all 5 years, 4 months ago

Good point. Gov wants to appoint his own judges so he accuses the current judicial selection process of being "secretive" and "undemocratic." But "secretive" and "undemocratic" mediation is just fine if it means he and the legislature can keep shirking their constitutional duties.

Orwell 5 years, 4 months ago

Well, maybe – but only if everyone affected by the judges' ruling gets to participate in the mediation. Where shall we all meet?

Seriously, this is just a transparent stall to get him closer to the August '14 election and his constitutional amendment gutting our right to a decent public education system.

ATR920 5 years, 4 months ago

Brownback has no say in this matter, at all.

somebodynew 5 years, 4 months ago

How can you say that ?? this is Brownbackastan and as Supreme Ruler he has a say in everything.

Well maybe not yet, but he is sure trying.

gccs14r 5 years, 4 months ago

So do we now call him Kim Jong Sam, or is that only for his friends and the rest of us have to call him Dear Leader?

Andrew Dufour 5 years, 4 months ago

Brownback apparently has no concept of how an appeal works. When you appeal a case following a court decision you do not then get to go to mediation. Mediation occurs before the case is decided in an attempt to "settle" the case (incidentally the settlement itself could not be appealed). This is absolutely amazing that he thinks he can do this, he has no idea how the system works. I sincerely hope the Supreme Court takes one look at this and laughs it out the door and says see you at oral argument. The government in many cases can be sued just like any other person, here the government was sued, lost and now must go through the proper channels to appeal.

Horace 5 years, 4 months ago

tigerarmy247 apparently has no concept of how an appeal works. Cases are routinely settled, at times through mediation, while an appeal is pending.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

But there is no "mediating" the constitution. Either the legislature follows its constitutional mandate, or it doesn't. And currently, they aren't.

George_Braziller 5 years, 4 months ago

He's just not very bright. He graduated from KU and has a degree in law. A bit scary he's Governor but doesn't have a clue about the process.

fiddleback 5 years, 4 months ago

Yes indeed, closed-door mediation. Just the process for determining how badly to short-change our kids...

Let me guess, a box full of Koch money pushed towards the plaintiffs' feet under the table?

And not to suggest that these geniuses will abandon the amendment effort in the meantime. So they'll bait (or 'bate) the courts with one hand, and attempt to castrate them with the know, for the good of the children.

AsherwhitE 5 years, 4 months ago

How stupid! Mediation is used prior to litigaion and requires fundamental "good-faith" which is not a visable trait of either Gov Brownback or litigation. Who should expect mediation regarding any constitutional provision (law)? Only idiots. The "law" has been established and affirmed. Why mediate? Enforcement is what is needed and that is what the court is trying to do. Why does Kansas elect idiots, time-and-time-again?

Horace 5 years, 4 months ago

The idea has some merit, but mediation can be expensive.

The parties and Justice Nuss should just meet over margaritas at Carlos O'Kelly's and try to work something out.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

Another attempt to silence teachers. House Bill 2085 would dramatically limit bargaining, strip teachers of a voice in evaluation procedures, and prohibit exclusivity- in other words teachers would not be permitted to choose a bargaining agent. Petition Background

The anti-teacher forces in the Kansas House of Representatives released a bill that effectively dismantles collective bargaining for teachers.

Support The Teachers Petition

Bruce Bertsch 5 years, 4 months ago

Here's a unique idea Sam. You took an oath to uphold the Constitution. The courts have decided that your pals in the Legislature have violated a provision of it regarding the funding of K-12 education. Buck up and uphold the constitution and fund the schools. Problem solved and I didn't even request a fee.

Larry Sturm 5 years, 4 months ago

Closed door meetings like this is not good they will do what ever they want.

fiddleback 5 years, 4 months ago

Very gracious of Sam to offer to "mediate" behind closed doors, quite sensitive to how we've never been this far before...

Sure, Twitty's got much better hair, but that homely face and smoldering squint, that's our sweet prince of a governor...and afterall, a bit of compromise behind closed doors will only make him love us more...

ljwhirled 5 years, 4 months ago

I am certain that everyone who has lost a lawsuit would like to mediate rather than pay out the damages.


James Nelson 5 years, 4 months ago

Dear Sam: Its up to about 450,000,000 now, taking inflation into account. You have already shown a complete lack of good faith in your dealings and your fiscal activities put you at a F-. Give it up to those who really care about the people of Kansas.

Stuart Sweeney 5 years, 4 months ago

Does King Sam and the Boneheads in the state house have any concept of how irresponsible they are being with the future of what had been a great state? Until they got started the taxes had been brought about by years of work by people who were in the middle of the road and did have a concept of fairness!

Gary Denning 5 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, let's avoid that nasty statute regarding open meetings and work out a school finance plan.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

You can't always get what you want.

Jonathan Becker 5 years, 4 months ago

I misunderestimated Sam. Just when I think he can't do anything more stupid, he proves me wrong.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 4 months ago

"The court has ruled in favor of Kansas kids on the issue of school finance time and time again, and the governor has made it clear that he disagrees. Today’s motions were just another effort to avoid our constitutional obligation to provide a quality education to our children," he said.


odierocket 5 years, 4 months ago

The book, What's The Matter With Kansas? by Thomas Frank, is worth a read . Watching this from Colorado with interest, as this seems to be the Republican plan for every state.

George_Braziller 5 years, 4 months ago

Esquire Magazine also has a good take on Sammy and the current state of affairs of the State:

grandpaD 5 years, 4 months ago

When you cut taxes you have to give up something. So we cut school financing and the kids suffer. The lower middle class takes it on the chin again.Our future hangs in the balance. The quicker we get Sam and his legislative henchmen out of office the better off the state will be. Remember all the smoke and mirrors politics next election and for Kansas sake don't put the same people back in again.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

This is one more trick Sam Brownback discovered in Washington D.C. Don't do the right thing do whatever it takes to keep public education funding in limbo. = Stonewall.

The right thing in this case is to do what the court said. Don't tie up my tax dollars simply because the BROWNBACK AGENDA does not support public education.

I DO NOT WANT Sam Brownback spending public tax dollars on corporate private schools. This is his objective.

I DO NOT WANT Sam Brownback cutting teacher salaries,laying off thousands of teachers then spending this money to provide teachers in corporate private schools ...his other objective.

NO ONE authorized Sam Brownback to shut down public education in Kansas. Kansas taxpayers want to vote Sam Brownback out of office today.

IF Sam Brownback fails to heed the courts decision I would appreciate the court doing the right thing which is holding Sam Brownback in contempt of court and take Sam Brownback to jail.

Centerville 5 years, 4 months ago

Will never happen unless Nuss' law firm gets a promise to receive their full share of the $400 million.

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 4 months ago

I find it ironic that his administration, which cannot add and subtract numbers, spends most of its time attacking teachers.

The rest of the country is watching the Kansas experiment with great interest but I think there will come a time when even the rats will be leaping from this sinking ship.

As we saw in the banking crisis, it is never the wealthy and privileged who get hurt the most, they simply change offices. It is the rest of us who get the bill.

Linda Endicott 5 years, 4 months ago

Do we have any people left in Kansas government who have two brain cells to rub together? Sure doesn't seem like it...

Confidentiality...oh, yeah...just another way of saying they can do whatever the hell they want, we the taxpayers have no say in it, and they don't even have to tell us what they did...

Paul R Getto 5 years, 4 months ago

Crazyks: have "faith," because there is nothing else in Sam's head. Discussing brain function is a waste of time.

Alexander Smith 5 years, 4 months ago

I think they are attacking the teachers and education to distract the public from knowing how much THEY HAVE WASTED on the Capital restoration project. How many hundreds of millions have we put into this stupid thing?

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 4 months ago

It is up $332.4 Million according to The 2013 Kansas Legislature Briefing Book and still climbing.

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