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FEAR vs. FACT

Kansas Coalition for Fair Funding responses to Advocates for the Status Quo

 

      • Low enrollment schools are guaranteed equal educational opportunity.   The Coalition agrees. That’s why our proposed Constitutional Amendment merely reaffirms that the legislature, not the courts, has sole authority to determine funding levels as prescribed in Article 2 of the Constitution. The Amendment preserves due process rights for students or school districts seeking redress for equity claims. In fact, a representative with the Kansas Association of School Boards stated that “the amendment would not necessarily preclude plaintiffs from bringing an equity challenge on school finance.”Source 

     

      • Less wealthy urban kids are guaranteed that the wealthier schools do not get an advantage.  Again, the Coalition agrees for the same reasons as above. Like low enrollment schools, less wealthy urban schools will continue to have equity protection after the adoption of this Amendment. Again, our amendment merely reaffirms that the legislature, not the courts, has sole authority to determine total funding levels and does not affect equity claims. 

     

      • Property taxpayers are guaranteed that they will not pay more simply because of the wealth of the district where their property is located.  The Coalition’s proposed Amendment does not alter this guarantee. Our amendment does not impact the local option budget, property taxes or equity. In fact, our Amendment aims to prevent property taxes from drastically increasing. Following a cost study that calls for more than $2 BILLION more in school funding, we are GUARANTEED to see continual school finance lawsuits which will lead to higher property, sales and income taxes. 

     

      • Western Kansans are guaranteed that their schools can continue to exist and not be reliant upon the whim of more populous area legislators.  The Coalition’s Amendment does not impact this guarantee. In fact, our membership includes the Kansas Farm Bureau and Kansas Livestock Association, both of which represent thousands of members in rural Kansas that demand and protect quality public schools. Their members’ families rely upon quality, equitably-funded schools. Again, our Amendment merely reaffirms that the legislature, not the courts, has sole authority to determine total funding levels and does not affect equity claims. 

     

      • All kids are guaranteed equal access to an adequate education.  We agree. Our Amendment does not impact any student’s access to an adequate education. Our Amendment reaffirms that the legislature, not the courts, shall determine the total funding amounts. 

     

      • We don’t need this Amendment because the Supreme Court has never directed the legislature spend a specific amount.  The courts have effectively directed specific spending amounts by rejecting substantial and historic increases to school funding until they are satisfied. The Court and case law has become reliant on cost studies (like the $2 billion Taylor finance study) to determine what is considered constitutional. The legislature, not the courts, has and must retain the power to fund all functions of government including schools. The legislature is closest to the people, and directly responsible to all people through elections. We must protect the legislative function to control government finances in order to protect the power of the people. 

     

      • This Amendment is another attempt by the legislature to absolve themselves of any responsibility to provide for an education to our children. You have the duty to fund schools and fund them both adequately and equitably.  The Amendment would not absolve the legislature of its constitutional requirement to fund public schools. It merely reaffirms that the people’s legislature, not lawyers, is the sole authority to determine K-12 funding levels. 

     

      • If this Amendment passes, the legislature would have the obligation to determine funding levels but not actually provide the resources. This ultimately would shift more and more of the responsibility for school funding to local property tax payers. The result would be devastating to our rural communities and to low income areas.  The legislature already has the obligation to determine funding levels per their authority outlined in Article 2 of the Constitution. Our Amendment simply reaffirms the legislature’s power of the purse. Cost studies and tax-payer funded trial lawyers should not mandate that the elected legislature spend specific amounts. The Amendment would not shift any more responsibility to local property tax payers. Again, the Amendment does not impact the local option budget, property taxes or equity. In fact, our Amendment aims to prevent property taxes from drastically increasing. Following a cost study that calls for more than $2 BILLION more in school funding, we are GUARANTEED to see continual school finance lawsuits which will can only lead to higher property, sales and income taxes. 

     

      • The Amendment blocks the Courts from ruling in any challenge to school funding. We the people would have nowhere to go to get relieve from an anti-education legislature.  The Amendment does NOT block the Courts from ruling in any challenge to school funding. The Amendment preserves due process rights for students or school districts seeking redress for equity claims. In fact, a representative with the Kansas Association of School Boards stated that “the amendment would not necessarily preclude plaintiffs from bringing an equity challenge on school finance.”Source
         
        Further, our Amendment does not impact political elections. The people have the power of the vote. As they have in recent elections, the people can campaign for and elect what they believe is a more pro-education legislature.

     

      • The legislature has turned three times to cost studies to help guide their education funding. In all three cases, these legislatively sponsored studies said that schools were underfunded.  Studies do not have to balance the budget and consider providing for other vital, essential core government services like, transportation, social services, public safety, higher education and KPERS. Studies are exactly that, studies. They are not perfect and should not be binding. A study should inform, assist and guide our duly elected citizen legislature to determine what the appropriate funding levels should be to achieve desired outcomes. Studies are more pieces of information for the legislature to consider, as well as data that lay out what our state’s workforce needs will be. Studies are not people who were elected by the people to tax and spend. 

     

    • This Amendment is gamesmanship and an attempt to find loopholes. The legislature should do their job.  An Amendment that requires a 2/3 majority vote in the House and Senate and vote by all Kansans is not gamesmanship. It is a serious effort to attempt to end the perpetual cycle of school finance litigation. It is a serious effort to reaffirm that the duly elected legislature, not the courts, has the power of the purse so that they can reasonably determine how to balance the needs of the state.The legislature has done its job. They have passed the two largest tax increases in Kansas history in the past 3 years and appropriated hundreds of millions in new spending to K-12 finance.

       

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