School funding – A ruling on the state’s appeal of yet another school-finance lawsuit is expected before the start of the legislative session in January. We’re going to make a not-so-wild guess here and predict the school districts will win, again. What that will mean is that the state will be ordered to increase the $3 billion it spends on school funding by more than $440 million, raising the per-pupil base from the current $3,838 to $4,492. Some legislators are saying they’ll defy the court if it orders an increase in school funding. We have a better idea. Stop the cycle of funding-by-lawsuit, work with school districts on their needs, and don’t even think of saying “no” to the court.
In defending the state in the school-funding lawsuit, state solicitor general Stephen McAllister said: “The Legislature has to deal with the real world. The constitution shouldn’t be a suicide pact.” We couldn’t agree more. But what was suicidal was the Legislature’s decision in 2012 to reduce income-tax rates so dramatically. The regressive policy shift certainly allows for wealthier Kansans and businesses to save money, but it also reduces the largest revenue source the state depends on. To cry poor mouth to defend not paying for suitable education is disingenuous at best.
Hays Daily News
Food stamps – Kansas’ most recent blow in a continued assault on poor families came from the top brass at the Kansas Department for Children and Families, which announced recently it would no longer participate in a federal outreach program to help aid poor Kansans applying for food assistance. It’s hard to see how DCF’s actions align with its vision statement – “to protect children, promote healthy families and encourage personal responsibility” – particularly when more than half of the state’s 320,000 food stamp recipients are children.
Coal plant – A state Supreme Court ruling has protected Kansans from a poor decision made a few years ago regarding the proposed expansion of a coal-fired power plant in western Kansas. As a result, if the costly project is ever built, its emissions will have to be far cleaner than once projected. That’s a big victory for the health of many Kansans who live east and downwind from the plant near Holcomb.
Kansas City Star
In addressing environmental concerns, Sunflower Electric Power Corp. voluntarily pursued innovative plans to slash carbon dioxide emissions. Utilities have an obligation to meet demand in an affordable way while pursuing technology that reduces emissions. The Sunflower project would do as much – something opponents still fail to acknowledge in their stubborn quest to block the expansion plan.
Garden City Telegram
Phog stampede – Kansas Athletics isn’t responsible for all of the selfish and unruly behavior that reportedly occurred at this year’s Late Night in the Phog, but anytime a University of Kansas entity invites the public to an event, it has a responsibility to make sure that event is organized and safe for the people who attend. The stampede of people trying to enter the event suggests a lack of organization for how people would be admitted, a lack of communication of how that process would work and a lack of adequate security personnel to enforce that process.