The rule of law must prevail in funding Kansas’ public schools.
On Friday the Kansas Supreme Court found that the Legislature did not constitutionally fund K-12 education during its 2016 session. The court gave the Legislature until June 30 to solve the problem — or the schools must close.
That would be a disaster in Johnson County, which prides itself on offering some of the state’s best schools. It would harm the large Kansas City, Kan., School District, which has led the fight against the Legislature’s recent funding plans.
Gov. Sam Brownback needs to call a special session for early June. That would give the legislative staff time to comb over the 47-page ruling and try to craft a sensible plan to deal with the court’s concerns.
The ultra-conservative Republican lawmakers who have huffed and puffed about “activist judges” must not ignore the courts and thus threaten a constitutional crisis.
It was disappointing to see Brownback’s absurd comments late Friday that the court “is engaging in political brinksmanship with this ruling, and the cost will be borne by our students.”
In reality, Brownback and the Legislature have caused this entire, recent dismal series of events with their actions.
In 2012, they passed income tax cuts that less than a year later had shut off a flow of more than $600 million a year into the treasury. The Legislature has refused to revisit these tax cuts, while desperately passing tax increases that haven’t come close to making up for the money lost because of the 2012 decision.
Kansans don’t have time to waste seeing lawmakers debate bigoted “bathroom” resolutions aimed at transgender students, as Speaker Ray Merrick and Senate President Susan Wagle have promoted in recent days.
Stop that nonsense. Lawmakers must handle the very real problem in front of them.
Job No. 1 in Kansas right now is to keep the schools open.