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Should the Kansas Supreme Court be able to order the Legislature to make appropriations?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on July 3, 2005

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Photo of Dave Evans

“No. It’s not really the place of the Supreme Court. I thought the Supreme Court is supposed to decide whether or not the laws the legislature makes are constitutional.”

Photo of Pam Grout

“I think the Supreme Court is just trying to uphold the constitution and fund education. I don’t think they’ve overstepped their bounds at all.”

Photo of Daryl Springer

“No, I don’t. I think that should be up to the Legislature.”

Photo of David Janzen

“I think the court overstepped its bounds a little by setting a specific amount. I think there needs to be a balance of power, but the court shouldn’t be so specific.”

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Jay_Z 12 years, 11 months ago

HELL NO....courts are supposed to interpret laws, not create them. The court should definitely not be telling the legislature how much money to spend. Appropriations are determined by the legislature. Basic government folks.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 11 months ago

Don't forget the legislators hired a consulting firm and ignored the results. Now they have indicated the desire to do it again...why?

YES I support the court 110%. The courts action was the result of a lawsuit in which court decisions render dollar amounts daily. The number was determined by the consultant our legislature hired.

The matter had plenty of time to be resolved however a majority of republicans who control the house and senate chose to discuss abortion,gay marriage and evolution/creationism instead knowing full well the matter of funding public education would be long and contentious.

Distractions are why we are still deabating the issue of school funding. Public School Funding should have had top priority. Instead,once again, abortion, evolution and gay marriage took center stage.

There is a lot of talk about abortion. It should always be the woman 's right to choose. Then so many say it's the female's problem and should not be allowed to choose because the woman decided to have unprotected sex...what a bunch of BS. We should have been discussing public school funding.

The man more often than not gets a ticket to ride free. Did the man also decide to have unprotected sex or was the man just stupid? Men in most cases are rarely pursued most likley because men are the majority of decision makers. Most of our elected decision makers are probaly as horny as any woman as some have "other" children that substantiate the fact.

This whole issue of abortion rights is certainly distracting from more important issues such as the neocons ripping off the the nations bill paying group aka the middle class. Every time this issue is presented by a politician someone needs to say mind your own damn business and bring jobs back to america, provide socialized medicine, bring on public financing of state and federal elections, do away with electronic voting because computers can be programmed to say any damn thing, get on with COMPLETE FUNDING OF PUBLIC EDUCATION, bring on alternative energy and stop wasting our money and killing innocent humans, including our soldiers, in Iraq.

The so called 40 year old war against drugs is bogus so bring the money home and spend it on all of the veterans benefits that GW BUSH has wiped out. Money spent here could have been funding real reasons against the use of hard narcotics in our public schools. Instead much of the DEA funding has been squandered providing security for oil lines in Columbia for instance.

Since Wal-Mart/Walton Family is waging war on public education no more local,state or federal tax exemptions for them. Cut them off and stop shopping Wal-Mart.

Doug Harvey 12 years, 11 months ago

The funding for schools is based in the Constitution to prevent political factions from messing with it. The reasons why it's in the Constitution are becoming apparent unless you think we don't need schools. Many Kansans (I am a native Kansan) apparently never learned about separation of powers and are being hoodwinked into believing that the Court is over-stepping its power when it's actually protecting the Constitution. The right-wingers in the Republican Party led by Doug Mays are the ones overstepping their powers. Why doesn't the LJW report it?

Byrne 12 years, 11 months ago

Tenstring: In the story that's linked, there's this: "But senators, and moderate Republicans and Democrats in the House, criticized Mays' decision, saying given the Supreme Court's order, the Legislature should have continued working until it produced a school finance plan it could defend in court."

and this: "Moderate Republicans and Democrats also have supported a school funding plan that is not linked to a constitutional amendment. This plan also is endorsed by Sebelius, but Mays blocked consideration of the proposal, and an attempt to overturn the speaker failed."

... and today's editorial seemed pretty clear as to where the LJW editorial board is putting the blame.

What more do you want?

usaschools 12 years, 11 months ago

It is unproductive to have a bunch of people who do not regularly follow school finance and have not followed this case closely comment on both. What you will get is largely the opinions of the ignorant and uninformed.

The legislature has NOT overstepped their authority. They are NOT making laws.  If your readers had followed this case, they would know that the Court gave the legislature a chance to come up with a school finance plan, and the legislature (with support from Phil Kline), completely ignored the Court, were openly hostile in fact, and failed to fund schools.
   In the court case, the legislature introduced the THIRD study they had done about how much funding was needed. They commissioned and set the conditions for the study. For the third time, it showed an increase was needed.  There is only ONE solution for underfunding, that it to increase appropriations! Evidence had been introduced in the trial about the amount of funding used. The court used this evidence and ordered the ONLY remedy at their disposal. It is not like the court just came out of nowhere and started ordering the Legislature to spend money on this and that! It was the outcome of the legal process.

 Readers might to well to review their 3rd through 6th grade social studies! We live in a democratic republic where the RULE OF LAW is followed. The legislature is NOT free to choose to ignore the State Constitution. They MUST fund our schools.

  Readers, Please use this link to write to your Rep's and Senators and urge them to solve this problem!

Liberty 12 years, 11 months ago

The court is actually doing us a favor by closing the government schools. If they do, the people will have to seek private means of real education for their children and the education quality will greatly increase with the teaching of the Constitution and true American history and how Congress has continually forced people into a status of a "US citizen" which now has NO RIGHTS thanks to Congress. A "US Citizen" is a citizen of the District of Columbia (Washington DC). Do we live in DC??? A State of Kansas Citizen still has rights and possibly a USA citizen. The schools need to teach citizen status and a lot more.

The courts are out of bounds telling Congress to spend money a certain way. But they may actually do something right by accident.

Liberty 12 years, 11 months ago

A "US Citizen" being a citizen of the District of Columbia, has the rights assigned by the democracy in Congress according to Section 1 Article 8 in the Constitution. Therefore the Supreme Court made the right decision on eminient domain concerning US Citizens. They can take what ever they want from you if you are a "US Citizen" because if you declare that status, you have no rights (of course you have to if you have a drivers license or want to vote). If you would like to learn more about how your government has 'tricked' you into a "US Citizen", listen to this 2 hour radio program by right clicking the two links below and save the mp3 files to your computer hard drive. You can listen to them with any mp3 capable player such as winamp or windows media player or newer versions of real player. Just bring up your player and 'open' the mp3 file you just downloaded to your hard disk. Have a happy Independence Day!

Link is:


Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

I actually paid pretty close attention to my social studies even after the sixth grade. I seem to recall that the "power of the purse" has always lain with the legislative branch. Therefore, the judiciary should not be able to order the legislature to spend money. If this has changed, no one has pointed out when this happened. I have already written to Rep. Mays expressing my gratitude that someone in Topeka had the courage to stand up to the court.

I agree with Liberty. If the court shuts down the government school system, many parents will seek educational alternatives for their children. When they do, many (though perhaps not all) will discover a better education is available elsewhere. It would be interesting to see what long-term effect this has on the government run school system.

Merrill: What would you consider "complete" funding of government run education? I mean, is there a point at which the government schools would have "enough" money? You are a long-time participant on this board, and while we often disagree I respect what you have to say. I am interested to know your thoughts on this matter.

Chris Bohling 12 years, 11 months ago

Wow. So few comments! I figured this one would set off a flamewar. I guess everyone is out of town.

While I do think it is true that the legislature would be out of bounds ordering spending under normal circumstances, the school funding situation is so desperate right now that I commend the court for having the audacity to risk their prestige and stature in order to do what must be done. I am a student at LHS and I believe I can speak for everyone there when I say that we haven't half the funding that we need. When I was at South we didn't even have enough money in the budget to pay someone to tune the piano. We've been on the verge of cutting back to only 3 band teachers for all secondary schools in the district for years now. Many of our best teachers are being lured away to districts in Missouri and especially Texas, where they actually care about their schools and pay decent salaries. Our computer systems are old and outdated and almost never work right. So, constitutional or not, the courts are doing what must be done.

John1945 12 years, 11 months ago

The entire batch needs to be impeached and the legislature needs to pass immediately legislation calling for standardized budgeting so these overfunded government child abuse centers can be better monitored. In addition, every child should be given a voucher to go to the school of his/her choice so no child would be forced to go to dumps like the Blue Valley school system (see to find out about these sewers. Then merit pay for teachers, fewer administrators, cash penalties for underperforming schools, etc.

These government "schools" are complete failures despite the fact that they receive tons more money per pupil than private and religious schools. Shut 'em down, who cares?

chevygal 12 years, 11 months ago

what happened to LJW askin cute guys the questions??? sheesh..oh well..maybe tomorrow..sigh

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

chell: "So, constitutional or not, the courts are doing what must be done." Dear God! Do you understand what you're saying! A constitution defines the roles of each branch of government and the limits of each branch's authority. When a branch of goverment does not recognize any limits to its power, that way lies tyranny. That is essentially what our judiciary has been doing for the last half century or more. Such arrogance, such abuse of power practically invites revolution. "...whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government,..." Hopefully Dr. Clouser covered this document with his class.

I would suggest that the way current funding is being spent is the problem, not the level of current funding. Do some research on inflation-adjusted per pupil expenditures starting about 40-45 years ago up to the present. Then look at SAT/ACT scores over that same period. See if you notice any correlation.

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