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January 15, 2014
TOPEKA – A few hours before his State of the State address Wednesday, Gov. Sam Brownback addressed a gathering of school superintendents in an effort to find some kind of common ground, or at least mutual respect.
At the same time, though, he acknowledged that he has a different view than most of the education community of what has happened to school funding in the three years he’s been in office.
“I’ve been saying every year that I’ve been in office, we’ve put more money in K-12. And we have,” Brownback told the Council of Superintendents. “Your experience has been, ‘I’ve gotten less money,’ which is true.”
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PITTSBURG, KS.— A Kansas Supreme Court ruling on a lawsuit against the state legislature could have an effect on school budgets. The ruling will focus on whether the legislature went back on a promise to give more aid to public classrooms. Currently, Kansas schools are funded less than $3,900 per student, down $600 from five years ago. Pittsburg School District Superintendent Dr. Destry Brown says the district has had to cut programs from all six schools, which affects just under 3,000 students
“Suitable funding would pay for our students to be able to be educated and receive opportunities that they need in order to move on and be productive,” said Dr. Destry Brown, Pittsburg School District Superintendent.
Dr. Brown says a decision from the Kansas Supreme Court could come any day now.
By STEPHEN KORANDA
The 2014 Kansas legislative session kicks off Monday, and Gov. Sam Brownback says education is at the top of his priorities, including his recently unveiled reading initiative and instituting statewide full-day kindergarten.
“I think the public wants to see us produce high-quality products, here from government. And the core function of state government is education,” Brownback said in an exclusive interview. “We put over half of our state general fund in K-12, but we need to see it produce and not just put money in. And, not ask for any results.”
The conversation with Gov. Brownback continues below:
The Wichita Eagle
Published Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, at 6:51 a.m.
Updated Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, at 7:12 a.m.
Depending on what the court decides, the outcome could be anything from more money for schools to a constitutional showdown over the balance of power between the courts and the Legislature.
Although they use different metaphors, Democrats and Republicans alike say the school ruling, whenever it comes, will influence just about everything that happens under the dome this election year.
SCHOOL FINANCE RULING: Legislators are waiting on a decision from the Kansas Supreme Court over school funding. Attorneys for the plaintiff parents and school districts say lawmakers failed to fulfill promises made in 2006 to adequately fund schools. The state says no actual harm has been done to students by education cuts and that the state did its best to fund schools in the wake of the Great Recession. A ruling either way will have significant consequences. If the plaintiffs prevail, the state may be forced to take money away from other programs or initiatives — such as income tax cuts — to pay for schools. Some Republican lawmakers say they’re prepared to defy such a ruling.
State May Have to Increase Funding for K-12 Education by 14%
Updated Jan. 12, 2014 7:51 p.m. ET
After passing some of the most aggressive tax cuts in the nation, Kansas lawmakers are watching the state’s top court for a ruling that could force education spending to skyrocket.
The Kansas Supreme Court will determine whether the state must comply with a lower-court ruling requiring the GOP-led legislature and Republican Gov. Sam Brownback to increase annual funding for K-12 education by an estimated $450 million, or 14% above the previous year’s level. The timing of the ruling is unclear, but it could come to dominate the state legislative session that opens Monday.
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