It takes a village to raise a child, but the village better not be filled with Republican lawmakers. The State of Kansas has underfunded its schools for at least six years. There have been efforts to raise the per pupil spending level, but poorer districts have remained far behind.
A lawsuit by four poorer districts resulted in a new temporary funding measure in 2015. It was supposed to take care of the problem, but instead it has left the disparity between wealthy and poor school districts. It may have even made the difference greater.
Kansas has a Republican Governor, Sam Brownback. It’s legislature is heavily Republican. Surprise! The GOP brain trust in the great state of Kansas decided in 2014 to slash taxes in order to create a stronger economy.
The usual Republican ploy, right? If we just lower taxes, there will be more business and more jobs and a everyone will live happily ever after!
So what happened? Gov. Brownback slashed taxes, the GOP legislature passed his budget, and everyone waited. A year later, the state was facing a deficit of $344 million.
Oh, dear, what to do?
To help close the gap, the conservative government of Kansas cut $45 million from its K-12 education budget. Remember: kids don’t vote.
That funding cut, added to the already significant spending gap between rich and poor schools, resulted in a ruling by the State Supreme Court in February of this year. The Court found that the schools’ funding formula violated the Constitution, and ordered the state to fix it by June 30 or they would close down the entire K-12 school system.
So how do you think the Republican government of Kansas is reacting? By providing all of its children with adequate schools?