A POLL RELEASED TODAY BY KANSAS POLICY INSTITUTE SHOWS VOTERS WANT LAWMAKERS TO APPROPRIATE EDUCATION SPENDING LEVELS IN KANSAS, NOT THE JUDICIAL BRANCH.
June 29 – Wichita – This week, after the years-long Gannon v. Kansas lawsuit over state funding for public schools, the Kansas Supreme Court released their opinion rejecting a six-year $854 million funding increase as inadequate.
The debate has been building in Kansas as to which branch of Government should be responsible for allocating proper funds. The current Supreme Court currently disregards a 1994 Kansas Supreme Court ruling, which said the constitution does not permit courts to set funding levels.
The Kansas Constitution says the Legislature must make “suitable provision for finance” of the state’s educational interests; the next sentence says no tuition may be charged for attendance at any public school. The intent is for a system of finance to be established rather than a specific dollar amount. The current Supreme Court ignores the separation of powers doctrine in ordering funding levels and sets the stage for a perpetual cycle of litigation, costing the state millions in litigation fees.
“This court decision, coupled with a new poll gauging the will of Kansas voters, confirms that the only hope for students, to get the education they deserve depends upon a constitutional amendment that prohibits the court from setting funding levels.” Says Dave Trabert President of Kansas Policy Institute.
A newly released poll found that the majority of voters in all five Kansas Senate districts do not want appointed judges dictating spending amounts for Kansas public schools. This new poll gives further credit to a previous survey done by SurveyUSA in November revealing 60% of Kansans are willing to amend the constitution to take back control of education funding from the courts.
KPI vice president and policy director James Franko added, “The districts polled span from more liberal and suburban districts in Johnson County to more rural districts and voters clearly agree – judges should not be making decisions about a child’s education. Citizens want their elected representatives making decisions about how much and, more importantly, how education dollars are being spent.”
The poll also reveals that in some districts, Kansans are narrowly willing to pay higher taxes relating to education costs because they equate higher spending with improved education. Even so, the majority of the surveyed voters want the Legislature prescribing spending amounts.
Trabert continued, “Kansans are worn out from the politics surrounding school finance. It’s time to get the judges and self-serving attorneys out of the classroom. The abuse of power by our state’s Supreme Court undermines the foundation of liberty, and it’s hurting students and teachers. ”
The new poll released today, conducted by Cor Strategies, individually surveyed five Kansas Senate districts. The total number of the registered voters surveyed across the five districts was 2,366. Complete results and methodology can be found at kansaspolicy.org/polling.
“We must send a resounding plea to our legislators to look at the real facts on education spending. To equate education spending with success for student achievement is a faulty premise that hurts our students.”
— FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE —