Editorials

Young debaters will take on school funding

On Tuesday night, young debaters will argue over how Kansas should best fund public schools so students get the most out of their education. The DEBATE-Kansas City event will take place at Johnson County Community College. The Kansas City Star is among the sponsors.
On Tuesday night, young debaters will argue over how Kansas should best fund public schools so students get the most out of their education. The DEBATE-Kansas City event will take place at Johnson County Community College. The Kansas City Star is among the sponsors. along@kcstar.com

To start an argument in Kansas, just mention school funding. For years, Topeka lawmakers have debated it and educators and parents have worried over it.

School districts have filed lawsuits, courts have ruled, legislators react again and the process starts over.

Left out of the argument have been the Kansans with the most at stake — the students — until now. DEBATE-Kansas City invites the public to the Capitol Federal Conference Center at Johnson County Community College at 7 p.m. Tuesday to hear young people tackle “Educating Kansas: A Public Debate over Education Funding in the Sunflower State.”

It’s sponsored by the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation, the National Speech and Debate Association, The Kansas City Star, KCUR-FM, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Johnson County Community College. The debaters will be Alex Trobough, a Sumner Academy senior who has numerous national and state debate awards; Candace Villanueva, a Sumner Academy and Johnson County Community College graduate and award-winning debater who now works for the community college; and Kayla Gilmore, a sophomore at Emporia State University who also was a successful high school and college debater.

Funding remains a hot topic with districts like Kansas City, Kan., suing the state, charging that it hasn’t met its constitutional obligation to adequately and equitably finance public schools.

The current and former DEBATE-Kansas City students with connections to Kansas will argue three sides of the issue:

▪ Reverse the state tax cuts instituted by Gov. Sam Brownback and the Republican-controlled Legislature, which took effect in January 2013, and return to the previous Kansas school funding formula.

▪ Keep the tax cuts and Legislature-approved block grant funding of public schools.

▪ Junk it all for a revolution in the schoolhouse.

Attend the debate, and learn what young people think about this important issue.

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