GOP ECONOMY: Kansas Budget Cuts May Result In State-Wide Public School Closures

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Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has created an appalling mess. Now he’s backed into a corner, with little hope of fixing it. On Thursday the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in favor of a lower court’s decision and found education funding to be biased against less affluent school districts.

GOP lawmakers cut state education funding and redirected the rest, causing poor districts to lose their share of over $4 million in annual aid, as USNews reports.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Kansas Constitution, stating that the state is responsible for providing a suitable education to every child and in doing so, must allocate adequate funding to every district to ensure children succeed. According to the Kansas Supreme Court,

‘Disparities among the districts remain inequitable and unconstitutional.’

The block grant funding bill passed by GOP state lawmakers renders a loss of education funding for the next two fiscal years, further widening the gap between poor and wealthy school districts in the state of Kansas.

Lawmakers have to act fast, however, as the new fiscal year starts on July 1st. The court left Gov. Brownback and the legislature a month to work out another funding plan, or Kansas students face the possibility of not returning to school after summer vacation.

Rather than equitably funding the state’s education system, lawmakers redistributed funds in an attempt to save money and offer larger tax breaks.

As USNews reports:

‘Because the plan guarantees that no district loses any aid it already has been promised for the next school year, most of them —including the four suing the state — would see no change in their aid overall. Twenty-three would see small increases, covered by the state tapping an existing pot of emergency school aid.’

All in all, Brownback has a tight deadline if he wants to get himself, and the state of Kansas, out of this giant mess. If he cares about students’ futures, he’ll come up with a plan, and fast. Despite what they say, sometimes saving money isn’t the best option, and Brownback certainly learned that lesson here.

For more information, watch the KMBC 9 News clip below, via YouTube:

Feature Image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr, available under a Creative Commons license.