Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Kansas Senate committee OK’s plan to exclude courts from school finance

February 19, 2013


A Senate committee has endorsed a proposal to amend the Kansas Constitution to give only the Legislature the authority to determine funding for public schools, rather than the courts.

The voice vote Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee sends the measure to the GOP-controlled Senate for debate. Republicans outnumber Democrats 32-8.

Supporters say changing the constitution would limit the power of the state’s judicial branch to review lawsuits over school funding.

A Shawnee County District Court ruled in January that the state’s system for school finance was unconstitutional. The court ordered legislators to increase spending by more than $440 million for the next school year.

Legislators want to put the constitutional amendment before voters in the August 2014 primary.


Claudean McKellips 1 year, 2 months ago

Don't worry. Brownback had this guy testify and he wants this guy to reform our courts. What could possibly go wrong?


Gary Denning 1 year, 2 months ago

Currently cooking in the Kansas Legislature: 1. Change the Constitutional mandate to suitably fund education. 2. Eliminate checks and balances between the Courts and Legislature so the Court's can't rule on whether the Legislature is properly doing its job. 3. Change how we select judges so we can stack the deck with tea party judges who would not support schools in future lawsuits. 4. Change how we select justices so when the school finance lawsuits go up on appeal only Brownback followers will be making decisions on the appeals. 5. Eliminate the ability of your local school board members, superintendents and others to lobby the legislature through the use of and public funds. After all, school board members are compensated SO WELL in Kansas (for those of you who don't know, school board members are NOT paid). 6. Change how we elect school board members, making it a much more partisan vote--because it is so important to know whether your school board member has an R or D next to their name as opposed to knowing who they are, what their qualifications are and what they might do for students in their school districts. 7. Tell schools how to teach about climate change. 8. Tell schools they can't teach about sustainable environmental and economic policy.

Let's see, any more great ideas coming from our "less government is good" R dominated legislature?


KSManimal 1 year, 2 months ago

This is all a bunch of posturing, or those behind it are ever dumber than they appear.

The KS constitution ALREADY gives the legislature (and ONLY the legislature) the power to appropriate funds. No money may leave the state treasury without a law specifically authorizing it.

The court order simply states that the legislature must actually SEND THE MONEY to school districts based on the law already in existence:

“(1)The State of Kansas is hereby enjoined from performing the unconstitutional act of altering, amending, superseding, by-passing, diluting or otherwise changing, directly or collaterally, any portion of the School district Finance and Quality Performance Act, K.S.A. 72-6405 et seq., as it existed on July 1, 2012, if the effect of such action would be to abolish, lower, dilute, or delay the revenue that would be derived from the base student aid per pupil set forth by K.S.A. 72-6410(b)(1) of $4,492. (2)The State of Kansas is hereby enjoined from performing the unconstitutional act of enacting any appropriation, or directing, modifying or canceling any transfer, or using any accounting mechanism or other practice that would, will, or may in due course, affect, effect, or fund less than the base student aid per pupil of $4,492 set forth in K.S.A. 72-6410(b)(1) as it existed on July 1, 2012, or as subsequently inflation adjusted as set forth in paragraph one of this Order or, otherwise, to unconstitutionally act to modify, change or alter downward the revenue to be received by a school district that would be derived from a base student aid per pupil of $4,492 as set forth in K.S.A (2012) 72-6410(b)(1) or as such inflation adjusted sum to be derived as set forth in paragraph one of this Order exists in the future.” (p. 245-7).


Larry Sturm 1 year, 2 months ago

Sorry about the mistake in the previous comment and the faie should be eliminated. The courts are a part of our system and it will be declaired unconsitional.


Larry Sturm 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't think that this will work because everybody has a right to a faie trial and it will go past the legislature to a court trial.


jafs 1 year, 2 months ago

The word in the constitution is "suitable", not "adequate" - just a little correction.

All of the same arguments apply, though, as far as I can tell - courts have the job of interpreting the constitution, and legislatures can't simply remove that job through legislation. Imagine if Congress passed a law stating that the legislature has the only role in determining a "reasonable" search and seizure.


me4Aday 1 year, 2 months ago

Some of you seem to feel very strongly about this issue. If you have problems with this legislation why are you wasting your time posting on here when you could be contacting your state representatives and speaking your mind? A daycare I called the other day wants to charge me $330 dollars a week for a 5 year old and a 2 year old.....When I asked about scholarships or something to help with the cost the lady told me that our Governor cut the funding to early childcare centers. I called my representative and found out that the daycare lady was misinformed. (People like a good scapegoat.) I found out the facts. Why would you listen to the bits and pieces of the story as written by the LJW? They have their own liberal agenda to push. I mean, news isn’t news unless it is controversial or unconstitutional, right?


toe 1 year, 2 months ago

The schools have not been able to sway the majority of Kansan's that they are doing their job. Schools instead have sold the majority on their one party support and turning a deaf ear to the majority. Even if the amendment is ruled unconstitutional, the source of money to make up the difference should come from universities, roads, and welfare. Starving the rest of the government to support schools is a good outcome as well.


Greg Cooper 1 year, 2 months ago

Again I repeat:

The legislature, years ago, determined the "adequate funding" needed to operate Kansas schools. It THEN proceded to ignore its own legislation by not funding as it said it shouild and would. Ergo, this suit is not about the legislature having the power to fund schools, because under that same constitution, it does, but about the fact that, under the Kansas Constitution, it passed a law doing exactly what it was supposed to do and DID NOT FOLLOW THE LEGISLATION. The legislature did in fact determine the "adequate funding" needed and broke the law by not doing what it enacted into law. SO, the Supreme Court said only that the legislature did not follow the constitution and needs to do so.

This constitutional bypass is unconstitutional because a state can not deny or usurp the checks and balances of its constitution. The suit is entirely unrelated to constitutional issues, but is based on a matter of one piece of legislation ignored and has nothing whatsoever to do with the checks and balances written into the constitution.

However, as noted above, this action"ll provide the attorneys appointed by Sam and the Gang to defend it hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. I guess that's what Sam means by job creation.


asixbury 1 year, 2 months ago

Kansas...are you filled with a bunch of idiots? Or just sheeple who go with whatever the "right" person tells them? In this case, the "right" person is the governor since he claims to be a Christian. I have lived in Kansas my whole life and my attitude towards it has changed since moving to the eastern side. But I still keep being embarrassed by the rest of this backwards state. When people I meet from another state or country ask where I'm from, I don't like telling them Kansas. I really want to be proud of this state, but not sure how that will happen considering the nonsense the government keeps pulling.


Hooligan_016 1 year, 2 months ago

Speaking of schools, why haven't I seen anything today from the local papers about House Bill 2306?

The KS Legislature has no qualms about getting the courts away from enforcing school funding, but then they have the audacity to legislate pseudo-science in classrooms.


Hardhawk1 1 year, 2 months ago

The amendment will never pass the house with the 2/3 majority. It is not going to happen.


Bob Reinsch 1 year, 2 months ago

Substitute the phrase "school funding" with the phrase "criminal sentencing guideline" and see how ridiculous it sounds. My point is this - if the Legislators are prepared to change the state constitution to give themselves more power in this instance, what will come next? That document was written that way for a reason.


fiddleback 1 year, 2 months ago

The legal illiteracy would be hilarious if it weren't so mortifyingly embarrassing...

So boys, just what is a constitution, if not a list of matters subject to checks and balances? Isn't everything appearing in the constitution inherently subject to judicial review? Are there any other examples of exclusive domains with no such checks?

Assuming there's no precedent, then this is exactly as stupid and heinous as it sounds, an assault on our greatest social contract. Why not just cross out the whole thing and scrawl, "Courts are hereby abolished; our junta will do whatever we feel like until it's finally so awful that even our semiliterate base feels compelled to kick us out...if we let them."

Between this and the bill about pre-emptively outlawing federal gun legislation, sounds like these boys are about ready to secede...I got to give it to them--they make Rick Perry seem like Stephen Hawking.


Roland Gunslinger 1 year, 2 months ago

When this passes in the legislature (trust me it will), and if somehow the voters in Kansas are duped into voting this into law (trust me the big monied conservatives will be filling the media with propaganda to ensure its passage) then I see this being overturned as unconstitutional.

You can't write legislation that effectively stops the judicial process- there's a reason we have three branches of the government. One branch cannot create a law to stop it from being overseen by the other.


gccs14r 1 year, 2 months ago

Yeah, this will make companies want to relocate here. Why, Kansas is fixin' ta be a gol-durned Utopia, I tell ya.


Andrew Dufour 1 year, 2 months ago

I sincerely believe this exercise will demonstrate the ineptitude of the KS legislature. The language they've placed in this amendment will not change the courts ruling. All the amendment says is that the legislature has the final say on funding education. The court did not say the opposite, the court simply said that as per the requirement that education be adequately funded, the legislature is underfunding schools. This amendment will have no effect on the ruling and the court will quickly inform the legislature of that fact when they're sued again. The fact is the legislature needed to remove the portion of the constitution that requires adequate funding but politically they knew they couldn't do that, so they tried this route and it won't work.


kuguardgrl13 1 year, 2 months ago

Goodbye, checks and balances. They might as well stop teaching kids about them in school.


Centerville 1 year, 2 months ago

But, but, if the taxpayers can't be expected to support Chief Justice Nuss' law firm, who will?


George_Braziller 1 year, 2 months ago

Have any of these people even read the Constitution? The Constitution is what dictates levels for school funding, not the courts. The courts just made a ruling based on what's written in the State Constitution. All they're trying to do is kill the messenger because they don't like the message. Even if this passes it doesn't change what's written in the Constitution regarding funding of education.


ksjayhawk74 1 year, 2 months ago

Yea, take THAT, teachers and students!!!


Commenting has been disabled for this item.