Schools for Fair Funding

Motion to Strike Misleading Statements from State’s Brief

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Group of Elementary Pupils In Classroom

Motion to Strike filed.  2017-07-13 Motion to Strike Misleading KSBE Statements (1)      Last Friday was the filing deadline for the response briefs after the initial briefs were filed the week before. We filed ours and the State filed its.  As we processed the State response brief last weekend, we became concerned with the section titled:

“The State Board of Education’s budget request was not based on the Rose standards or on the costs of providing a constitutionally adequate education.”

In this section of the State’s brief the State cites Minutes of legislative hearings where Commissioner Watson testified.

The brief says:

Commissioner Watson explained, “[w]hen the State Board set forth their budget, they had a premise that school districts would use such funds within the State Board model to help students be successful in line with the State Board’s ‘complex goals,’ not the Rose standards.” Minutes of May 22, 2017, Senate Select Committee on Education Finance at p. 3 (emphasis added). Commissioner Watson explained that the desired “outcomes” under the BOE’s “complex goals” exceed the Rose capacities in many ways. Minutes of May 22, 2017, Senate Select Committee on Education Finance at p. 2.

This was not our memory of how Dr. Watson testified. We were recording most of the legislative hearings this year, so we went back and actually listened to the recordings again to see what Dr. Watson actually said. He did not say or imply the items above. The Minutes that were prepared and submitted to the Court do not correctly portray the hearing or his comments.

Also, recall that the legislature hired former Sen. Jeff King to advise it on these topics. When he came on board, he took charge of monitoring the Minute process. Here is how HE characterized what he was going to do… We had that recorded also.

King: During your debate, I listened to, the level of thoughtfulness and reasoning and consideration of why these amendments would go on or not from a performance based standard, was very high. And the minutes will reflect that because there was so much information. And that is very helpful and one of my jobs is to make sure that is packaged in a way the Court accepts it, sees it and considers it fully. . . .

Rooker: So if I may, you mentioned having listened to our marathon work session, but are you also evaluating the other 3 months of committee work? Because we’ve had hearings on specific elements of this formula over the course of this session.

King: The answer is yes, I’m still working on it. That is part of making sure that everything in the minutes reflect what’s done . . . and so that’s an ongoing process and to me if there’s any frustration with delays and getting the minutes compiled, I will take responsibility for that. Because I think it’s that important that we review it and

It is apparent that the legislative minutes do not accurately reflect the testimony of
the hearings. The minutes have been prepared or supplemented with material to support
the State’s position with testimony that simply did not occur. It is either
extraordinarily coincidental or intentional. Regardless, the indicated arguments and
portions of the State’s brief should be stricken as not supported by the evidence.

 

Briefs on S.B. 19

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Teacher asking her students a question

Below are the briefs filed by the Gannon Plaintiffs, the State, and Legislative Coordination Council (Jeff King’s) Amicus Brief.  Reply briefs are due today, July 7th.

2017-06-30 Gannon Plaintiffs Adequacy Remedy Brief

2017-06-30 State Adequacy Remedy Brief

2017-06-30 Legislative Coordinating Council Amicus Brief

Supreme Court Oral Arguments Set for July 18

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The court ordered simultaneous briefs by both parties due June 30 with reply briefs due by both parties on July 7. Oral arguments have been set in Topeka for 9:00 a.m.on July 18. Please mark your calendars to appear and watch the oral arguments and support the cause.

The order can be seen here:

2017-06-19 Supreme Court Scheduling Order – Remedy Briefs and Oral Argum…

CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS

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The House and Senate passed a school finance bill yesterday as well as a tax bill to fund it. While the school finance bill certainly does not provide adequate funding and has other equity problems we intend to raise with the court, the bill does largely get us back to a rational formula to fund the schools. The governor has indicated that he may veto the school finance bill and will veto the tax bill. We need to move forward. We expect veto override attempts in both the House and Senate later today. We need you to contact your legislators as soon as possible and ask them to support the veto overrides.

Kansans spoke clearly last November that we need to return fiscal sanity to state government. The governor is in denial and does not support the clear direction that Kansas voters sent. The veto override is needed on one or both bills. Please make your calls.

Please do all that you can to get in touch with your legislator(s) now.

An entire generation of Kansas kids is counting on you!!

KSSA School Finance Statement of Position

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Please find the Kansas School Superintendents’ Association’s position statement released this morning.

On behalf of the Kansas School Superintendents Association (KSSA), we want to reach out and share a couple of items. First, thank you for all your legislative efforts. Your voices are being heard and change appears to be on the horizon. Second, the job is not finished. Through the leadership of the House K-12 Education Budget Committee Chair Larry Campbell, the committee has developed a school finance plan, HB 2410, which over five-years increases school budgets $751,863,231.

KSSA believes this proposal should only be considered a solid start to a possible school finance formula that meets the diverse needs of our students.  Last spring, the Kansas State Board of Education recommended an increase in school funding in the amount of $893,497,231 in order to fund the initiatives found in the new KansasCan vision and the accountability of the new Kansas Educational Systems Accreditation.  The Kansas State Board recommended the restoration of adequate funding occur over a two-year period. KSSA believes this increase is more indicative of the funding needs, knowing the current expectations being placed on school districts in the coming years. Rolling the additional funding over five years causes great concern, as this would mean three different legislative bodies would have to keep the promise of funding schools and a good portion of the increase would be absorbed by the cost of inflation.

As you continue to share, discuss, and answer questions with your local legislators, please know the message KSSA will be sharing with legislative leadership is the (restoration of adequate funding) increase should be $893,497,231. We understand that legislators are facing projected shortfalls in future years and may need to spread out the increase over two to three years. If you haven’t already, KSSA would encourage you and your board to have an implementation plan ready to share with your legislators. We believe it is important your representatives understand how your district would infuse these dollars into the classroom, program changes, staffing additions, and other academic enrichment opportunities for students.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Cory Gibson – KSSA President
Suzan Patton – KSSA President Elect
G.A. Buie – KSSA Executive Director
785-232-6566

LINK TO E-MAIL

H.B. 2410 Kansas School Equity and Enhancement Act Testimony

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Chairman Campbell, Members of the Committee:

Schools For Fair Funding is a coalition of 40 Kansas school districts comprised of 135,241
students, or 30% of the students in Kansas. Thank you for the opportunity to present our views on HB2410.

We are testifying OPPOSED to this bill due to the issues outlined herein.
In judging the constitutionality of any school finance bill, the Kansas Constitution is the
guidestar. The Kansas Supreme Court has further defined just what our Constitution requires to guide us. Most recently, in the Gannon case, the Court has provided the most detailed articulation of the requirements. There are two components a bill must provide to pass constitutional muster: It must provide for adequacy and equity.

Adequacy:
“To determine compliance with the adequacy requirement in Article 6 of the Kansas
Constitution, Kansas courts apply the test from Rose v. Council for Better Educ., Inc.,
790 S.W.2d 186 (Ky. 1989), which establishes minimal standards for providing adequate
education. More specifically, the adequacy requirement is met when the public
education financing system provided by the legislature for grades K-12—through
structure and implementation—is reasonably calculated to have all Kansas public
education students meet or exceed the standards set out in Rose….”

Read the complete testimony here:  SFFFtestimonyHB2410final (1)