KNEA lawsuit – We have no idea whether the lawsuit filed last week by the state’s largest teachers’ union against Gov. Sam Brownback and the state will amount to anything legally, but that might not even matter. What matters is that the governor and his GOP-controlled Legislature – in an election year – picked an unnecessary fight with the Kansas National Education Association, and it’s not a fight that’s going to pay off politically for them. Keeping the due process for teachers was never an overriding problem for administrators, parents or students. Getting rid of it might just be that for Brownback and those foolish enough to go along with him.
The absence in state law of due process for schoolteachers isn’t the end of the world. Rather, due process is something school district officials and teachers’ bargaining units can handle through local negotiations, as it should be.
Credit downgrade – Gov. Sam Brownback said both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s had faulty and incorrect analyses in deciding to downgrade Kansas’ credit rating. If they are at fault for not believing Brownback’s assertion that cutting taxes will stimulate the economy like a “shot of adrenaline,” then so be it.
Kobach – Secretary of State Kris Kobach has made no secret of his interest in working on matters unrelated to his state position. His general election opponent, Jean Schodorf, a Wichita Democrat, recently called for Kobach to publicly release documentation detailing time spent on his private law practice while in office. It’s a reasonable request. Kobach claims he’s spent just a handful of hours a week on outside legal business. If that’s the case, he should have no problem sharing details – and letting Kansans decide whether they’re getting their money’s worth from a secretary of state busy promoting his own political agenda.
In the days before Kansans headed to the polls to vote for their local, state and national representatives, an unlikely character entered the primary election fray to sway voters’ opinions – Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. His political action committee, Prairie Fire PAC, was active in at least two races in the Kansas primary. Not a single Kansan should think it’s acceptable for the person tasked with managing the state’s elections to be engaged in the outcomes of those elections. And while Kobach has made the argument that his actions don’t violate any law on elections in Kansas, it doesn’t change the fact that those actions reek of impropriety.
Athletic fees – College students have enough financial worries without being assessed costly fees for athletic programs. Reducing or eliminating what’s being called a regressive tax on students should be a priority, but it’s not. The University of Kansas responded to a reduction in its student fee subsidy by selling some of the best student seats for men’s basketball at Allen Fieldhouse to donors. The school also raised the price of student football and men’s basketball ticket packages to make up for the $350,000 in lost revenue. Keep in mind that KU had a record $93.11 million in athletic revenue for the 2012-13 financial year. That included $1.1 million in subsidies from student fees and $1.7 million in direct support from the university.