Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Golly! The Kansas Legislature finally funds schools

Out here on the prairie, we’re waiting for the next shoe to drop. The Kansas Legislature finally yelled, wrestled and strong-armed itself last night into passing a three-year $466 million school finance plan, but serious questions remain.

Will this plan actually help Kansas kids? Will the Kansas Supreme Court accept it, given that it’s far less than expected? Will lawmakers have to cut other needed programs to pay for this plan and the nifty new business tax cut they seem determined to pass?

The answer to the final question will come today when the Kansas Legislature goes back into session at 10 a.m. After a nearly record-breaking wrap-up session (15 days), lawmakers appear determined to finish up today and go home.

As a citizen of the Sunflower State, I’ll be thrilled when they leave. One is never fully safe when the Statehouse is humming, particularly if one is a member of a hated minority.

Meanwhile, Alan Rupe has already said he will challenge the plan in court. Rupe is an attorney for the school districts whose lawsuit prompted the state Supreme Court to order lawmakers to actually live up to their Constitutional duty to fully fund schools.

Is this plan the best one for kids? We already know that the Legislature may have already caused grief to some parents and kids in my own town of Lawrence.

Because of the delay in passing a finance plan, the Lawrence school district announced that it pulled the plug yesterday on a plan to run all-day kindergarten. One local lawmaker thought the bill would allow the district to reconsider its decision, though.

More details in the Lawrence Journal-World and the Wichita Eagle.

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