Archive for Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Supporters of amendment say Legislature should be sole authority on school funding

February 13, 2013


— School finance decisions by the Legislature shouldn't be open for review by the courts, according to a supporter of a proposed constitutional amendment that would make the Legislature the sole authority on funding public education.

Sen. Steve Abrams, R-Arkansas City, said Wednesday the amendment is needed to clarify that the Legislature — not the courts — has the power to appropriate funds for schools.

Sen. Pat Pettey, D-Kansas City, asked Abrams what recourse schools would have if the Legislature doesn't follow through on promised funding.

Abrams said determining a suitable provision for the finance of schools, "I'm going to suggest is what the Legislature says it is. They are the final arbiter."

He said if the public is unhappy with a legislator's vote on school finance, then voters can vote that legislator out of office.

The exchange occurred during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Senate Concurrent Resolution 1608, which says that the financing of educational interests of the state is exclusively a legislative power.

The measure is in response to court orders for the Legislature to increase school funding.

Last month, a three-judge panel ruled that the state has failed to provide adequate funding for schools and ordered an increase of at least $440 million. The ruling came in a lawsuit that was brought by a group of school districts because of state funding cuts to schools during the recession.

In 2005 and 2006, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled the school finance system unconstitutional and threatened to shutter schools if the Legislature didn't increase funding.

The proposed constitutional amendment would need two thirds support in the House and Senate before it could be placed on the ballot during the state primaries in August 2014.

Dan Thatcher, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said since the 1970s, 45 states have gone through school finance litigation.

"Kansas is definitely not alone in this situation," he said.

He said that in cases similar to Kansas, where plaintiffs have alleged inadequate funding, the plaintiffs have won 62 percent of the time.

He said a recent study showed that the school finance lawsuits nationwide have resulted in a 6 percent increase in total spending on schools and 13 percent increase in state spending on schools.


msezdsit 1 year, 2 months ago

"Legislature should be sole authority on school funding"

These maggots shouldn't be able to walk around the block without a guardian with a leash.


Paul R Getto 1 year, 2 months ago

The legislature is hoisted on its own petard. They said they wanted world-class schools back in the 1980's, created standards to meet them, then refused to find the efforts. That's why parents keep suing them. This will go on, with or without an amendment.


edjayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Who is this Trabert guy and why does he only troll the Lawrence Journal-World? And why do we care? He's wasting his time here.


Alexander Smith 1 year, 2 months ago

Well our current Gov and GOP controlling party needs to be removed. They fail to understand that in order to get good jobs and business to come to Kansas, we have to have a large pool of well educated workforce to pull from. If you go out and look at the states with the worst education system and compare to average pay and number of good jobs, there is a direct connection.


Larry Sturm 1 year, 2 months ago

I think the federal government requires that states fund public education , that every child has a properly funded education thru k12.


Dave Trabert 1 year, 2 months ago

The headline on this article is inaccurate. As I testified yesterday in support of SCR 1608, the role of the court is to determine whether the legislature's actions are constitutional...if not, they should order the legislature to make corrections but not tell them how to do it or order an appropriation. That is the Separation of Powers Doctrine.


Stain 1 year, 2 months ago

Brownback would destroy public education altogether and replace it with private religious schools available only to the wealthy.


Stain 1 year, 2 months ago

Brownback was not crowned the King of Kansas.

And he is not a dictator though he acts like one.


JJE007 1 year, 2 months ago

The bully state of the state legislature states that it goes with God and cannot be wrong or questioned. Go in arrogance to love and serve your lording over all.


Slowponder 1 year, 2 months ago

This comment will be over the head of Sen Abrams

To paraphrase and apologize to a poet:

How dumb is this idea? Let me count the ways. I find it dumb to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. I think its dumb to the level of everyday's Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I find it dumb, as men strive for Right; I find it dumb purely, as they turn from Praise. I find it dumb with a passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. I find it so dumb with a dumbness I seemed to find dumb down With my loss it ain't, --- I find it dumb with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose, I shall vote it down now but but better after death.


fearthetaliban 1 year, 2 months ago

as I said -- "fear the taliban"


BigfootHunter 1 year, 2 months ago

Public education is pure SOCIALISM and should be eliminated. Why should I pay for your heath care or your education???


Katara 1 year, 2 months ago

"Abrams said determining a suitable provision for the finance of schools, "I'm going to suggest is what the Legislature says it is. They are the final arbiter.""

That is not how our system works. Perhaps Sen. Abrams needs a refresher course in basic government?


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 2 months ago

It's pretty simple, really-- the only way to make the budget work after income taxes are eliminated is to gut funding for public schools. They're idiots for believing that the economy can blossom without a proper, and properly funded, system of public education, but they're smart enough for the simple math that dramatically slashing tax revenues entails.


Greg Cooper 1 year, 2 months ago

OK, let's try again:

This suit was brought because the legislature's own research division recommended the funding level that the legislature subsequently approved, and subsequently failed to porvide. Ergo, the school districts which planned on that funding and did not get it were (and are) in need of funding to carry out their plans for educating our children.

So, the issue is deeper than "the court dictated funding levels" in our own legislators did not follow through on their own legislation.

However, this is what we have come to expect from the Kansas Neo-Republican Party. And what we can expect from them until the voters of Kansas awaken to what's happening to their state.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 2 months ago

Let's not kid ourselves the entire Kansas delegation in congress works with ALEC as well. They should all be fired.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 2 months ago

If a transparent organization such as the courts should not intervene how in the world can that secret organization ALEC bring together state legislators to design legislation that is counter to to the will of the taxpayers?

For that matter how is it that state legislators meet in private behind closed doors WITHOUT voter approval? WHO THE HELL made that decision? Taxpayers DEMAND answers!!!!

ALEC has taken corruption up a few notches to the detriment of our children and our teachers.

I say ALEC must be declared an illegal body for designing legislation for state governments. Voters and taxpayers do not appreciate a secret government.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 2 months ago

The legislature has been altering the budget downward for no apparent reason for a few years. Certainly NOT with the approval of taxpayers!

Now we know ALEC wants to kill public education so ALEC decides to paint public education as this body of evil and incompetence which neither is true.

ALEC Private Schools

Corporate Education Reformers Plot Next Steps at Secretive Meeting

ALEC Education "Academy" Launches on Island Resort by Dustin Beilke

.What is ALEC Scoring on Its Education "Report Card?" Little is known about the agenda of the ALEC education meeting taking place at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island. The meeting is not open to the public and recently even the press has been kicked out of meetings and barred from attendance. So to understand the ALEC agenda with regard to education, it is important to examine ALEC's education "scorecard."

Imagine getting a report card from your teacher and finding out that you were graded not on how well you understood the course material or scored on the tests and assignments, but rather on to what extent you agreed with your teacher's strange public policy positions. That is the best way to understand the American Legislative Exchange Council's 17th Report Card on American Education released last week.

ALEC's education bills encompass more than 20 years of effort to privatize public education through an ever-expanding.... con't


question4u 1 year, 2 months ago

The courts determined that the state's system of funding education was not fair and equitable, hence it violated the Kansas constitution. That's what this has been about from the beginning.

But, of course, the Legislature should be able to decide whether students from poor districts with high percentages of racial minorities should receive an education comparable to that received by mostly white students in wealthy districts. If fair and equitable funding costs more, then the Kansas Legislature should be free to create a system of funding that is unfair and inequitable. Kansas is turning back the clock, so why not take 1950s Alabama as a model?

If state legislators like Virgil "murder immigrants from helicopters" Peck; Connie "I can tell an immigrant by the olive complexion" O'Brien; Bill "Opossom - the other dark meat" Otto, and Mike "Mrs. YoMama" O'Neal decide that they don't want a fair and equitable system of funding education because it costs too much, then it should be up to them. After all, it's not like they're racists or anything. And if the people of Kansas don't like what right-wing radical legislators do then they can always vote them out of office, go back in time, and give a generation of Kansas school children the fair and equitable education that they missed out on.

And why should Kansas have a system of funding education that is fair and equitable anyway if the Kansas legislature is going to spit on other American values, like freedom of speech? Go ahead and change the constitution and eliminate the balance of power that protects democracy. Kansas doesn't have to be American just because it's located in the center of the United States.


1 year, 2 months ago

Typical of The Guv's people. They don't like the courts telling them to follow the Kansas state Constitution (play by the rules). as a result, they want to amend the Kansas State Constitution (change the rules) so they can legally provide poor funding to schools.

In other news, KPI spokesman Trabert says, "The sky is falling," when the legislature is told to follow the rules.


autie 1 year, 2 months ago

Sen. Abrams may not know about how the checks and balances of government are supposed to work. The court merely ruled on a question. The legislature is the only body that can appropriate expenditures. That is clear. The court says you didn't appropriate enough. Now, what part of that is unclear? Topeka just get more stupid as the days go by. SCR 1608 is nothing but cry baby whining and is total waste of resources.


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