The Special Session: Why I Voted No
Every year – every session – the Kansas Legislature has a heated debate about school funding in Kansas.
In the special session, the Senate passed a revised school finance bill 39-1. I voted No. Here’s why.
First off, some background on how we reached this point:
There are three key reasons why:
- Since 2005, the Kansas Supreme Court has threatened to close down schools in Kansas to impose their view of how education money should be redistributed.
- It came to head late on a Friday afternoon at the end of May, after the Legislature had adjoured for the year. The Supreme Court decreed that they would close all of the schools in Kansas becuase they disagreed with how 1% of the education budget was distributed in the state.
- The governor, in response, chose to answer their threat by calling a special session.
- That special session occurred in late June, and while I appreciate the incredible effort legislative leaders like Chairmen Ty Masterson and Ron Ryckman made towards achieving the compromise, I could not vote for the bill in good conscience.
In the end, I respect the decision many of my colleagues made in voting for the bill. Good people can agree or disagree on how to react to the court. However, according to our representative democracy, I vote based on my own judgment and then explain it to you, the people who elected me. My priority is to uphold the Kansas Constitution by guarding your liberty.
- It took money from your schools.
The school funding bill that passed eliminated $1,440,779 from the Shawnee Mission School district. Although De Soto received a marginal increase, the Kansas Supreme Court is determined to eliminate more funding from Johnson County schools in the future.
- This Supreme Court wants to “pick on” to Johnson County schools.
Supreme Court Justice Dan Biles is quoted in oral arguments as saying, “let’s pick on Blue Valley.” This kind of attitude signified a judicial attitude that pits rural schools against suburban schools.
- Your vote was taken away and given to unelected judges.
Whether you agree or disagree with decisions your state legislators make, it is you who gets to decide whether to vote for or against those decisions through elections. The Kansas Constitution was written so that ultimately your voice should be heard and your liberty should be protected.
In contrast, the candidates to serve on the Kansas Supreme court are determined by attorneys. Therefore, you have little to no vote on who our judges are and how you want your values represented.
The Kansas Constitution was not approved by Kansas citizens to have courts issue policy decisions. Instead, the Kansas Constitution gives the court authority to rule on the constitutionality of a particular policy, but that is not what is occurring when specific decrees are made.
Funding Facts: The Truth of Education Spending in Kansas
There are a lot of claims about the state of education funding in Kansas, particularly in light of the litigation that continues to dominate the headlines. What are the actual facts? Learn The Truth About Education Spending in Kansas, including several links from the Kansas Department of Education detailing spending statewide as well as local districts within Senate District 10.