www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Please stop helping us -8/1/2014, 10:57 AM

Deadly double standards -8/1/2014, 10:57 AM

Huelskamp's attention to detail -8/1/2014, 10:57 AM

Surprise, surprise, surprise -7/31/2014, 10:12 AM

Medicaid expansion a win-win for Kansas -7/31/2014, 10:12 AM

Term limits are first step -7/31/2014, 10:12 AM

Vote for what's right -7/31/2014, 10:12 AM

The next governor -7/31/2014, 10:12 AM

Shultz is the pick -7/31/2014, 10:11 AM

Eyeing the children -7/30/2014, 9:01 AM

Speak from the heart -7/30/2014, 9:01 AM

Changing attitudes -7/30/2014, 9:01 AM

Time to replace Huelskamp -7/30/2014, 9:00 AM

Water vision -7/29/2014, 9:48 AM

No longer a supporter -7/29/2014, 9:47 AM

The power of punctuation -7/29/2014, 9:47 AM

Running for the wrong bus -7/28/2014, 9:04 AM

Old Old Mexico -- Culture and content -7/28/2014, 9:03 AM

The defining issue of economic recovery -7/27/2014, 4:53 PM

In a world of sectarian violence, what can be done? -7/27/2014, 4:53 PM

Funding DHDC -7/27/2014, 1:18 PM

Endorsement for Shultz -7/25/2014, 3:28 PM

Against the wind -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Do blacks need favors? -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Vote Huelskamp out -7/25/2014, 4:23 PM

Open meetings -7/24/2014, 8:07 AM

Leadership change needed -7/24/2014, 8:07 AM

Vote for Huelskamp -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

Protecting unborn children -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

Learning experience valuable -7/24/2014, 8:06 AM

False equivalence -7/23/2014, 8:07 AM

Measles' scary comeback -7/23/2014, 1:27 PM

The 'big data' deal -7/23/2014, 10:07 AM

GOP can't get out of its own way -7/23/2014, 10:07 AM

War only will add to Middle East problems -7/22/2014, 8:10 AM

Avoiding taxes -7/22/2014, 8:10 AM

Take the win in Iran -7/21/2014, 8:57 AM

The high court's high-handedness -7/21/2014, 8:57 AM

Up in arms in the Capitol -7/20/2014, 4:52 PM

Firefighters weigh in on pay raise -7/20/2014, 4:52 PM

Backpacks for Kids -7/20/2014, 4:52 PM

Our unwillingness to defend ourselves -7/18/2014, 10:51 AM

Remembering a man who championed freedom -7/18/2014, 10:51 AM

GOP split -7/17/2014, 8:38 AM

New Kansas senator -7/17/2014, 8:37 AM

Who'll build the roads? -7/17/2014, 8:37 AM

Time to retire -7/16/2014, 2:20 PM

Reagan: In or out? -7/16/2014, 2:45 PM

'Unbroken' WWII vet more than a hero -7/16/2014, 2:44 PM

Savor the fruits of your labor -7/16/2014, 2:44 PM

Erasing candidate's standards -7/15/2014, 11:36 AM

Returning to Trail Wood -7/15/2014, 10:13 AM

Leaving some in 'suspense' -7/15/2014, 10:13 AM

Strangers in a remarkable land -7/14/2014, 9:11 AM

Courageous or spineless? Our actions decide -7/14/2014, 9:11 AM

Ambition: An unlikely gift to Kansas voters -7/13/2014, 11:16 AM

Beyond the outrage -7/13/2014, 11:16 AM

Water watch -7/13/2014, 11:16 AM

Scenic outlooks -7/11/2014, 9:18 AM

China's research trumps teaching -7/11/2014, 9:17 AM

Important slow news -7/10/2014, 9:42 AM

We've got a promise to keep -7/10/2014, 9:33 AM

The white combine calls -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Vote for family values -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Politicians making a mockery of my faith -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Missing tribute -7/9/2014, 10:02 AM

Rural students deserve 21st Century education -7/8/2014, 9:10 AM

The education table dance -7/8/2014, 9:10 AM

A new virus -7/8/2014, 9:10 AM

Government as God -7/7/2014, 9:38 AM

EPA affecting others -7/7/2014, 9:38 AM

'Narrow' decision from the narrow-minded -7/7/2014, 9:38 AM

The tax trap -7/6/2014, 4:35 PM

Rulings produce 'First Amendment fireworks' -7/6/2014, 4:35 PM

Firefighter salaries -7/6/2014, 4:35 PM

Economic freedom -7/4/2014, 11:54 AM

Protecting our independence -7/4/2014, 11:54 AM

Dan Johnson, 1936-2014 -7/3/2014, 7:12 AM

New Iraq offensive backfires -7/3/2014, 7:11 AM

Setting things straight -7/3/2014, 7:11 AM

'Crapitalism' -7/3/2014, 7:11 AM

Feeding peace throughout the world -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Half way is still only half way -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Sherow a better choice -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Fireworks, part II -7/2/2014, 9:01 AM

Reality show made in Topeka -7/1/2014, 8:53 AM

The justices and their cellphones -7/1/2014, 8:53 AM

LOB defeated -7/1/2014, 8:53 AM

Tragedy explored in 'Broken Heart Land' -6/30/2014, 9:14 AM

Mexico City: The adventure continues -6/30/2014, 9:14 AM

Even our youngest Americans are citizens -6/29/2014, 12:58 PM

Ban on fireworks -6/29/2014, 12:58 PM

It's time to teach active citizenship -6/29/2014, 12:57 PM

The education establishment's success -6/27/2014, 10:39 AM

Piecework professors -6/27/2014, 10:39 AM

Marriage for all -6/27/2014, 10:39 AM

Prairie chicken madness -6/26/2014, 4:17 PM

Omission control -6/26/2014, 10:12 AM

Equal in the eyes of the law -6/26/2014, 10:12 AM

Help wanted -6/26/2014, 10:12 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Satisfying the court

Published on -4/9/2014, 10:45 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

The conservative majority that reigns supreme in both the legislative and executive branches in Topeka do not take kindly to advice from the third supposed co-equal, the judiciary. Even orders from the Kansas Supreme Court are met begrudgingly — or threatened to be ignored.
When the state’s highest court told the Legislature its method of funding public education was unconstitutional because there were disparities between rich and poor school districts, lawmakers got to work crafting a fix. The result was passed during the weekend with no support from moderates in either party and, more than likely, will create even more disparity between districts. The legislation also will provide public money to private schools via a creative method of tax breaks to corporations that give away scholarships, which will put districts in even more of a financial bind. To top it all off, Gov. Sam Brownback will be able to sign into law the elimination of due process for teachers.
“The school finance bill passed by the Legislature today fully complies with and, indeed, exceeds the requirements of the recent Supreme Court ruling for funding schools,” Brownback said.
It did fulfill the court’s directive to equalize funding for local option budgets and capital outlay budget by pushing an additional $126 million into the system. But because Kansas is on that glide-path to zero income taxes, Topeka does not have a lot of options to create that money. The governor still is awaiting the economy to grow by virtue of his tax policies.
The bill also gives districts the authority to increase local option budgets up to 33 percent from the current 31 percent cap. This will satisfy rich districts in Johnson County that actually had patrons suing the state for this right. There won’t be many other communities throughout the state that will be able to afford this route but if they could, it would effectively push a portion of the state’s constitutionally mandated payments down to district patrons.
The $10 million tax credit ploy will give large companies the ability to eliminate up to 70 percent of their tax liability if they donate to a scholarship fund for poor and at-risk students to attend private schools. The state can afford to do this because if a child isn’t going to a public school, the state won’t have to pay the approximate $4,000 in base state aid to a district. It is a not-so-cleverly-disguised voucher system.
And then there’s the matter of firing so-called “tenured” teachers without cause. Currently, teachers who have at least three years’ experience were entitled to a hearing with a third party if dismissed. With the new law, no such due process. So any teacher who is gay, not liked by a group of parents, or gives the school board member’s son his first “B” could be removed at will. No questions asked.
So who are the winners?
We’d start with Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Policy Institute and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce who backed the policy changes that didn’t even get vetted by a committee, let alone be examined in public.
We throw in Brownback and the overly conservative majority in both chambers of the Statehouse, who are finding new ways to starve local governments, reduce state services, weaken unions and dismantle public education.
The losers? Teachers. Administrators. School districts and the towns they serve. And, most sadly of all, children. They’re not old enough to see the chicanery masquerading as public service. But they are young enough to be affected their entire lives by bad policy decisions in the education arena.
Expect the situation to degrade even further when the lower court rules on the adequacy — or lack thereof — of state funding.
Editorial by Patrick Lowry
plowry@dailynews.net
digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos