USD 410 pulls out of Fair Funding for Schools

The USD 410 Board of Education decided at Monday?s (Aug. 9) regular meeting to withdraw from Fair Funding for Schools.

In a 7-0 decision, the board voted to discontinue its membership with FFFS, which filed a school finance lawsuit in June that contended the Legislature violated the Kansas Constitution by failing to provide sufficient funding for public education as mandated in Montoy vs Kansas.

Last fall, USD 410 and USD 398 Peabody-Burns were the only districts in Marion County to join FFFS. Schools that joined were assessed $2 per student annually, which totaled about $1,200 for USD 410. The annual dues to continue are $1,864.32, based on $2 per student plus an additional assessment to support litigation of $1.20 per student.

Prior to Monday?s vote, Superintendent Steve Noble articulated his support for USD 410?s participation in issue.

?You hire me to take a position,? Noble to the board.

He said although he doesn?t like the idea of suing the state, he does support holding legislators accountable to their constitutional obligation that the funding of education should be adequate to foster continued improvement.

?It?s a Kansas issue,? Noble said about the challenges of maintaining quality education and meeting standards if adequate funding is not provided.

In response to Noble?s invitation for board members to state their position, Rod Koons said, ?I think we?d be disappointed if your position wasn?t (in support of FFFS).?

Constituents, however, have spoken to Koons about this issue, and all have expressed a lack of support for the district to continue its FFFS membership. Consequently, Koons said, he would vote ?no? to continue with FFFS.

Board president Eddie Weber said he would also vote ?no.?

?It?s not a large amount, but its $2,000 that could be spent somewhere else,? he said.

Board members Gary Andrews, Dale Klassen, Mark Rooker, Joe Sechrist and Deb Geis also verbalized their positions prior to the vote.

A special board meeting will is planned for 6 p.m. Aug. 18 to approve the budget and plans for remodeling the current Midway Motors building into a new central office and transportation center for the district.

A full report of the Aug. 9 board meeting will be published in next week?s Free Press.

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