School funding – The Kansas Supreme Court’s school-finance ruling cast a bright light on the Legislature’s willful failure to meet its funding obligations to poorer school districts and their students. The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision gives lawmakers until July 1 to correct the inequities they’ve created. That can best be done by restoring the “equalization aid” at an annual cost of about $129 million. Kansas lawmakers shouldn’t have to be forced to do the right thing. Their deliberate policy of unjustly shortchanging students in poorer school districts must end now.
Kansas City Star
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.
Winfield Daily Courier
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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.
Hays Daily News
Switching parties – In a relentless quest to control election outcomes, some Republicans in Kansas now want to make it more difficult for Democrats to participate in the election process. Currently, voters registered as Republicans, Democrats or Libertarians may change their party affiliation up to 21 days before the August primaries. The proposed legislation essentially would prevent registered voters from changing their party affiliation from June 1 through Sept. 1. Lawmakers who believe the goal should be more participation at the polls should reject changes that discourage citizens from participating in their democracy in any way.
Garden City Telegram
KU budget – The Senate Ways and Means Committee denied any funding assistance for a new medical education building at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The building is needed not only to accommodate larger medical school classes – to help address legislators’ concern about a state doctor shortage – but also to make sure the school can keep its vital accreditation. Committee Chairman Ty Masterson, R-Augusta, said after the meeting: “I don’t feel the accreditation is in jeopardy. If it were, we could reconsider what we need to reconsider.” What accrediting group did Masterson talk to? On what does he base his seemingly baseless conclusion that the school’s accreditation isn’t in jeopardy? The people of Kansas need to hold their legislators accountable for capricious or vindictive KU budget decisions that will hurt the state as a whole.