High noon

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state’s so-called equity fix in regard to Local Option Budget aid in the school finance lawsuit is unconstitutional and again gave the Legislature until June 30 to remedy funding for poor districts or the school system would be unable to operate.

Gov. Sam Brownback and House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, sharply criticized the court as over-reaching, while Alan Rupe, lead attorney for the plaintiff school districts, said if schools close it would be the fault of the Legislature for failing to perform its constitutional duty.

It’s come down to this: Will the Court stick to its ultimatum? And does the Legislature have enough common sense to develop a sustainable and equitable funding formula for public education, which is the bedrock of our future? More to the point, does the Legislature have the backbone to fix the Brownback income tax cuts that have sent our state into an economic tailspin?

The Kansas Association of School Boards has stated what we all know to be true: “Shutting down the school system on July 1 would have disastrous effects on our fine public schools and state…. We strongly urge our elected leaders to continue working on providing a constitutional system for all of our students and resolve this issue as soon as possible.” —DR

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