NOTE:  Kansas is Ground Zero for the implementation of Conservative Republican Economic (and social) policies with Republican Governor Sam Brownback leading the charge.  He’s had four years to implement the “cutting taxes creates jobs,” “Government is the problem, not the solution,” and “personal responsibility and individual initiative” mantras we’ve been hearing from these guys for decades now.  We should all take heart that Kansas’ Brownback Revolution has pretty much crashed and burned.  The latest “difficulty” with the conservative Brownback economic revolution revolves around the funding of the Kansas public school system.  Apparently the Kansas courts as well as the Supreme Court do not think that slashing funds for education leads to an explosion of educational opportunities for Kansas’ public school children.  (How totally crazy, right?) Brownback is up for re-election this year and I, for one, will certainly be watching the Kansas Gubernatorial returns closely on November 8th.
From: The Huffington Post

The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s current levels of school funding are unconstitutional, and ordered the Legislature to provide for “equitable funding for education” by July 1.
The long-anticipated ruling was a victory for education advocates in the state, but it may be a short-lived one as the Legislature has vowed to defy court orders on the subject.
The Kansas Legislature began reducing school funding in 2009 during the recession. As part of this reduction, lawmakers began to reduce and withhold payments of state aid, making poorer school districts scramble for adequate funding.

According to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Kansas is spending 16.5% less per student, or $950 per pupil, on education in 2014 than it did in 2008.
The lawsuit, Gannon vs. Kansas, was filed in 2010 by four school districts and 31 students who argued that they have the right to an education under the Kansas Constitution. Failure to provide “suitable” funding for that education violated their rights, they argued.
Kansas argued that increasing school funding did not necessarily improve education quality, and that schools were receiving record amounts of money when federal and other funds were taken into account. In the meantime, Gov. Sam Brownback, who is up for reelection this year, passed two rounds of income tax cuts, further frustrating parents who wanted to see more state spending, rather than less.
In January 2013, a three-judge panel ruled on the side of the school districts, saying that it was "completely illogical" for the state to cut taxes while blaming an economic downturn for spending cuts. It ordered lawmakers to raise base state aid per pupil to $4,492 from $3,838. The state of Kansas appealed that ruling.
The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the school districts had shown that funding reductions hurt their ability to do what the constitution requires them to do: “maintain, develop and operate local public schools.” The reductions in state aid also “established unconstitutional, wealth-based disparities,” the court said.
But the court did not specify any funding requirements, instead sending the case back to the three-judge panel, which must determine whether school funding law is “reasonably calculated” to have all students meet or exceed certain standards.
Lawmakers must provide for equitable funding for public education by July 1, the court said.
Brownback issued a measured statement, calling the decision a “complex” one that “requires thoughtful review.”
“I will work with leadership in the Kansas Senate and House to determine a path forward that honors our tradition of providing a quality education to every child and that keeps our schools open, our teachers teaching and our students learning,” he said, in a statement. In his State of the State address, Brownback called for all-day kindergarten in the state, part of what his administration says is a commitment to education funding.
Brownback’s statement makes Judith Deedy cringe. She’s one of the parents behind Game On Kansas Schools, an advocacy group started during the recession when parents, fed up with crowded classrooms and rising student fees, decided to get involved.
“He says that, and that’s how he gets elected,” she said Friday. “But his token gesture to fund kindergarten is all he’s suggesting.”
Deedy and other parents are concerned that Brownback and the state Legislature will find a way to defy the Supreme Court’s ruling. The Republican speaker of the House said that he did not see the Legislature “going along with what the courts say” in an interview with the Kansas City Star last year.


“Clearly, clearly it’s a political decision, and anyone who says otherwise has not read it.”
— Sen. Ty Masterson, R-Andover

“Frankly we don’t know what would appease the court. We thought we did that during the wrap-up session. There’s been a lot of talk, and a lot of attorneys have come to the conclusion that the Gannon decision was a political decision. It wasn’t legal, it was political, with the intent to take the focus off the Carr brothers and abortion bills that are before the court and place it on education in order to help bolster their retention elections. And that whatever remedy we think we may be passing, they’re going go out of their way to strike it down in order to keep that narrative going.”
— Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, R-Hutchinson

“I don’t want to go into a special session. I don’t want to go into explaining to my people why schools are closing on July 1. I realize they’re playing games with less than 1 percent of our school budget. But that’s less than 1 percent of our budget, too. It’s not their fault we don’t have the money. In my opinion, we ought to move on down the road.”
— Sen. Jeff Longbine, R-Emporia

“I think we should remember that this court doesn’t have any intention of allowing this issue to be resolved. They’re going to continue dropping little turds like they have at the appropriate times to do everything that they can to try to distract the Legislature. And for us to play this game with them is just encouraging them to continue engaging in this bad behavior. Eventually we’re going to have to stand up to this court and let them know that we are the Legislature. They are not the Legislature. Capitulating with them, I think, is a poor strategy and we’ll continue to be unsuccessful. “
— Sen. Jeff Melcher, R-Leawood

“Why don’t we just have a statute that grants amnesty to everyone that is in the funding chain,between the state treasurer, all the way down to the school board and superintendent, that says they are immune from any contempt of court charge and that schools are to open this year? If the court decides to strike that down, we (can) have an agreement with the governor who will grant a pardon to anybody that the court attempts to charge with contempt of court, and we’re going to keep the schools open.”
— Sen. Mitch Holmes, R-St. John

“I think that (defying the court) would be a terrible mistake. I think we have a constitutional obligation to provide for suitable education. The court has done its job in determining what that is. It’s our job to follow their orders.”
— Rep. Boog Highberger, D-Lawrence

“I find it fantastical that the Senate President, on the last day at Sine Die, when we don’t have a balanced budget, and we don’t have a constitutional way of funding our schools, would bring this (transgender bathroom) resolution to the floor so we can debate about where transgender kids pee.”  (NOTE: I particularly love this one. Kudos to Sine Die.)
— Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City

NOTE:  This entire shitstorm is typical of “reality denial”  from Republicans who seem to engage in this foolishness as a matter of pubic policy.  They simply will not acknowledge that their four decade long conservative economic policies have simply failed.  This “blindspot,” or let’s call it the more appropriate and accurate term:  “substituting fantasy slogans for real pubic policy,”  continues with this year's Presidential election.  The Donald seems to believe, like Sam Brownback, that pithy slogans and “ripe for primetime news feed blatherings” are sufficient for gaining public office.  Perhaps he's right.  Time will tell.   But if Trump were serious, he ought to take a lesson from what’s been going on in Kansas.  But, of course, he won’t because Trump, like Brownback, doesn’t have the capacity to separate fact from fiction. Or admit when he is wrong. 

Have a good day folks and don’t let the shitstorm of our Presidential election get to you.  As painful as it is, it will end.  On November 8, 2016.   


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