On Thursday, June 23rd, the Kansas Legislature will be coming into special session, to muster the courage and leadership to produce a constitutional school finance plan. The State of Kansas has been in legal hot water for more than a decade regarding how they finance public education, and it is fair to say that at least one portion of it has come to a head.
Last week, the House and Senate Judiciary Committees held hearings about both the school finance problem, as regards the Kansas Supreme Court's ruling, and regarding possible amendments to the Kansas Constitution to make that same Supreme Court go away, at least in education-related matters. We spent hours following every word they said. MainStream, in the person of our President, former legislator Sheryl Spalding, testified against any amendments. And yet, it turned out to be just so much grandstanding by the legislative leadership, with not even a resolution or a recommendation coming out of these committees. Instead, they agreed to forward the minutes of their discussion to the groups that will meet this week.
They took two days of hearings, and ignored much of what was said. They even ignored the proponents, the Kansas Policy Institute who had the audacity to suggest that the word "suitable" be removed from the Constitution where it says that State shall provide "a suitable education." In the end, their discussion left us with this:
Pay the $38 million they think the Court would accept as making school finance "equitable"
Introduce an amendment to the KS Constitution that would prevent the Courts or the Legislature from closing schools
Ostensibly, on Thursday, the committees that handle the purse strings will be engaging these items. But we can look forward to a bit of a circus atmosphere in Topeka that day, with transgender bathroom bills and court censure and many pet education bills still out there.
Won't you join us?
We are calling for citizens, and their families, to take Thursday the 23rd as a day to learn about civics. Come visit the Statehouse in Topeka. There will be a lot going on, and it is a great time to really engage with politics that affect you. Some of our partners are organizing a rally at 10 am (see below), but there will also be a lot of unplanned events and get togethers. This is a perfect day to feel like you are part of a movement, a movement of regular constituents paying attention to what their legislators are doing.
Our interns will be out engaging in some get out the vote activities, including a bake sale to make up the budget deficit! Pick up a cookie and an advanced voting application!