The Kansas Supreme Court gave the Legislature until July 1 to correct inequities in the way school districts benefit from local option budgets and capital outlay aid, state funding for construction and equipment. We in rural Kansas will do well to watch closely what our lawmakers do about LOBs in particular. Wealthy districts such as those in Johnson County have taken advantage of LOBs to maximize local property taxes for their schools. Our suggestion is that rural lawmakers like ours work to make LOBs and capital outlay aid more equitable across the state and not let themselves get caught up in a hurried effort to rewrite the entire school-finance formula.
The disdain on display for everyday Kansans and their school-aged children is unnecessary, and pitiful. Even the most fiscally conservative lawmaker should be able to articulate reasons why they don’t believe schools need any more money, or even the same. Currently, they’re all hiding behind the governor’s self-imposed poor-mouth story or the fairy tale about an expanding economy that will provide untold riches. Neither is to be believed – or tolerated.