Who gets to decide school funding?
To the Editor,
Last week State Rep. Kristey Williams wrote an excellent piece for the Times-Gazette titled “Are schools under-funded?” I’d like to ask another question related to school funding and that is “Who gets to decide?”
Lest anyone think that I’m against education, let me state that I’m not. I’m a product of public education in Kansas beginning kindergarten at the old Jefferson building, and continuing through grade school, high school, Butler Junior College, and finally, Wichita State University. My children have traveled a similar path through the El Dorado public school system, and earning multiple degrees from KSU and WSU. I currently have grandchildren attending EHS and KSU. I’m very much a proponent of public education.
However, the current debate isn’t really about public education, but rather how much money is enough and who gets to make that decision.
I’m also a taxpayer in our fine state and it’s my opinion that (1) I pay too much in combined income, sales, and property taxes now and (2) no amount of money will satisfy the “Education establishment” and the lawyers. Does anyone really doubt that even if the legislature appropriates the full amount that this group is demanding now that we won’t be right back in the same place in a few year with them demanding more and more? The “establishment” and the lawyers have found a willing partner in the Kansas Supreme Court and they will continue to milk this (as in us taxpayers) forever.
As I stated to Ms. Williams, I believe the only solution to this continuing battle is for the Legislature to simply tell the Supreme Court NO. We value your opinion and will take it under advisement, but it is the responsibility of the Legislature to determine funding levels.
Who gets to decide? I believe, we do, you and I as voters get to make that decision by voting for the people who go to Topeka and enact the actual appropriation statutes. If we’re not satisfied with their decisions, we can vote them out of office.
I urge all members of the Legislature to follow the Constitution, appropriate funds for schools as you believe best, but please put a stop to this nonsense and politely tell the Supreme Court that you don’t recognize their authority to determine funding amounts.