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Posts tagged as “Wichita and Kansas schools”

Judicial Scandal Grows

The Kansas legislature's school spending spree is racing the latest developments in the judicial-legislative misconduct scandal over school finance in Kansas. The outcome of this race could influence the size of the spending spree going on at the Kansas statehouse right now. The latest revelations on the school finance scandal brings the governor into the story. Senate President Steve Morris has now informed at least some in the statehouse press that he told the governor about his meeting with Supreme Court Justice Nuss and Senator Pete Brungardt.

Kansas Judiciary Gets National Criticism

Kansas Judiciary Gets National Criticism
Karl Peterjohn, Kansas Taxpayers Network

The school finance litigation began in the 1980’s in Kansas and has continued and expanded in the 21st Century. The first lawsuit was tragic, but now Kansas is becoming a judicial joke, albeit a very expensive demonstration of judicial activism and contempt for the democratic principles that are the foundation for not only this state, but for this republic.

Kansas is now getting negative national attention created by the judicial activism coming from the Kansas Supreme Court. Kansas is not alone in judicial activism but the attention focused upon the Sunflower state by the Wall Street Journal April 8, 2006 is a national recognition of a fundamental problem facing Kansas. The negative judicial impact is already hurting Kansas firms as business costs and risks grow. Any out-of-state firm looking to relocate into this region won’t come anywhere near us.

Here, the judges are setting budgets and legislatures have been relegated to an elected advisory board. Litigious school district lawyers publicly whine about “inadequate school funding,” despite an increase of over $650 per pupil last year alone. Governor Sebelius and her liberal legislative allies in both parties want this spending to be doubled again to a total of roughly $2,000 more per pupil per year. That would be an additional $40,000 per twenty student classroom in Kansas if the legislature approves this spending when they return to Topeka April 26.

When this gubernatorial backed spending spree was approved in the Kansas house all 42 Democrats joined 22 liberal Republicans led by Garden City lawyer, Representative Ward Loyd in narrowly passing this bill on a 64-to-61 vote in March. In a spasm of caution, the senate deadlocked and passed nothing so far this year.

Not Everyone Agrees With Choice

Recently I wrote about the case of a young girl who is homeschooled, one who gives me hope in the future of youth. (See A Declaration of Independence from Public Schools.)

There are people, however, who would deny talented and dedicated young people like Mary the opportunity to be educated in the way their parents wish. In a blog post titled It's not homeschooling -- it's truancy we find someone who would, if I understand the author, deny everyone this opportunity.

A declaration of independence from public schools

Mary Moberly, a young woman just 15 years old, wrote this piece. She lives in Manhattan, Kansas. I have been reading her two websites for the past few months, ever since I saw that she referred to a post on this website.

If you look at her two websites, Tea and Crumpets Zine and Just Go Boil Something, you will discover her wide-ranging interests and accomplishments, both remarkable for someone so young. I particularly recommend her essay What Makes a Well-Educated Person?

State of Kansas vs. Students

Taxpayers have had to pay over millions to fund both the school districts suing the state for additional state spending, for the state's defense of this lawsuit, and this does not include the costs for the judicial system. Instead of chasing ambulances it has now become much more remunerative for lawyers in Kansas to chase taxpayers. You as a taxpayer will have to pay a lot more in taxes due to this odious environment. Kansas is the economic loser as school district lawyers Alan Rupe and John Robb made their case for another statehouse spending spree March 5, 2006 in the Wichita Eagle.

On Paul Mirecki

There are two aspects to the Paul Mirecki matter that I haven't seen discussed, or discussed only in passing.

What Is the true state of public education in Kansas?

So what is the true state of public education in Kansas? There are many studies and statistics available. Many contradict the conclusions made by others. Constituencies such as the teachers unions and the education establishment tell us they have only the welfare of the children as their concern, but many times they act otherwise. Who is qualified to decide what to do?

Criticism of Bob Corkins reveals true motivations

I have not met Bob Corkins, but I have read some of his articles. I published several on the Voice For Liberty in Wichita. He is in favor of school choice, and that is one thing that the education establishment, education bureaucrats, and teachers unions are very much opposed to. Never mind that allowing school choice could be the quickest and easiest thing we can do to improve schools in Kansas.

Augenblick perhaps cheap by comparison

Billions of dollars are riding on the outcome of the state's two education finance studies, one by the Legislative Division of Post Audit, the other by the national firm of business analysts at Standard & Poors. The Kansas Supreme Court is putting great reliance on the results of these studies in deciding how to resolve the behemoth Montoy v. State K-12 finance litigation.

Pricing a Car, Pricing a School?

Only when value is determined by a voluntary exchange does the price send reliable messages to producers and consumers. Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman observed that "Anything that prevents prices from expressing freely the conditions of demand or supply interferes with the transmission of accurate information."

In utter disregard of this principle, Kansas is now under Supreme Court order to list the manufacturer's suggested retail price for K-12 education. You can bet it will be no mere suggestion once the experts finish their calculations.

Who lost in the school finance bill?

Today (July 20, 2005) Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius signed the school finance bill. This bill gives Kansas public schools a lot more money to spend this school year.

Report from Topeka, July 3, 2005

Thanks again for this report from Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director Kansas Taxpayers Network

It was a hard, long slog for the 11 days of the Kansas legislative session that began June 22. Using the phrase, "hard, long slog," is one that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had used in describing the war in Iraq.

The hard, long slog of the Kansas constitutional crisis continues with a break for legislators until Wednesday July 6. By then, the final FY 2005 revenue figures should be in.

Yet there is a phrase from the Vietnam war that is quite descriptive for the situation in Kansas.

"We had to destroy the village to save it."

This phrase has been attributed to various sources and most seem to (dis)credit it to left-wing flak Peter Arnett who was last seen generating excuses for Saddam Hussein's regime. Yet that phrase accurately describes what the Kansas Supreme Court's latest edict: "We have to destroy public schools in order to save it."

The court's July 2 edict threatens the closure of the state's public schools unless its spending mandate is met. This edict represented a judicial hissy fit because the divided Kansas legislature did not meet the court's July 1 date for increasing spending. The court issued an unusual Saturday afternoon ruling while the legislature continued to meet.

Report from Topeka, July 2, 2005

Thanks again for this report from Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director Kansas Taxpayers Network

The Kansas constitutional crisis expanded Saturday afternoon as the Kansas Supreme Court issued their latest school finance edict that threatened to shut down the public schools in this state because the legislature is not behaving properly under the court's instructions.

This is a sad day for the people of Kansas and their elected representatives when the appointed officials on this court, including apparently (the order was only signed by the chief justice and no other members of the court) two justices who have conflicts of interest in this case, continue to their assault on representative government and the separation of powers in this state. Kansas is truly in a constitutional crisis that is unique in this state's history.

What makes this situation fascinating is the continuing legislative special session. The legislature is deadlocked. At the moment there aren't 63 house members who are willing to surrender their fiscal authority to the court so the school finance bills and test votes have failed there. The most recent failure was a 63-to-59 procedural vote conducted in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

Report from Topeka, July 1, 2005

Thank you again, Karl Peterjohn of the Kansas Taxpayers Network, for your insights into the Kansas Legislature's special session.

The Kansas house begins their 10:30 AM session with a constitutional amendment to reassert their fiscal powers in a key vote for this special session. Last Sunday a similar amendment failed getting only 73 of the 84 (2/3) votes needed to be submitted to voters.

Yesterday's house vote on school finance tied the $140 million in additional funding to the passage of an amendment in the constitutional battle between the court and the other two branches of Kansas government. Yesterday, the governor declined to state her position on the constitutional amendment proposals but many legislators believe that she is holding house democrats away from any amendment.

The vote last Sunday was critical since the senate had already passed this amendment and house approval would have allowed Kansas voters to have a voice in this crisis. Kansas voters continue to be largely disenfranchised in this process.

What has been missing from the school finance debate is perspective. Sadly, the figures tossed about by the various sides do not reflect numbers that most Kansans can easily relate to understanding. Should government school spending be raised by $161 million or $86 million?

Americans for Prosperity Statement on the Current Special Session

Americans for Prosperity Statement on the Current Special Session
June 29, 2005

"Americans for Prosperity -- Kansas is pleased that both legislative leaders and Governor Sebelius have ruled out tax increases on Kansas families and businesses as a way to meet the recent Supreme Court ruling.

The tax burden on Kansans is already too high and combined with the private sector job losses it is clear that a tax increase would be not in the long term interests of our state. After the misguided tax increase effort of 2004 and the initial call in some quarters this year for a tax increase it is positive to see that legislative leaders and Governor Sebelius and legislative leaders have realized the need to set a new course.

We want to thank the literally thousands of Kansas citizens from across our state and from all walks of life who have called, written and met with their elected leaders to demand more efficient government, relief from higher taxes and a return to the entrepreneurial spirit that has made Kansas so great. These grassroots activists -- many of whom are AFP-Kansas members -- are helping bring a new political culture to our state.

As our elected leaders decide how to respond to the Supreme Court's decision requiring hundreds-of-millions of dollars in new education spending AFP-Kansas encourages them to consider ways to improve education results with forward-looking reforms. Like the vast majority of Kansans, we have supported needed funds for education. As a massive new infusion of tax dollars for education is considered, now is the time to make sure that Kansas' children are receiving the full benefits of this money. That means actively looking for ways to get more dollars directly into classrooms instead of seeing them wasted on bureaucracy, giving parents greater input into their children's education, and making sure that every child is given the very best opportunity to achieve the American Dream."

Report from Topeka, June 30, 2005

Thank you again, Karl Peterjohn of the Kansas Taxpayers Network, for your insights into the Kansas Legislature's special session.

The Kansas house passed on a 64-to-59 vote a school spending plan that is contingent on the court not removing any parts of this plan and the voters getting their hands on a constitutional amendment to reaffirm the legislature's fiscal authority. This bill, house substitute for SB 3 goes to the senate for either concurrence or conference committee.

The house is scheduled to take up a constitutional amendment but that won't occur until 2 PM at the earliest. The senate will meet at 2 PM.

It will take at least 4-to-6 house Democrats to vote for a constitutional amendment to offset the Republicans who have been voting against a constitutional amendment in this 125 member body. There are 84 votes needed to pass a constitutional amendment. Two have been discussed.

The house vote is good news in the constitutional battle but it is not decisive by a long shot. If the constitutional amendment(s) is (are) passed and the senate concurs on this bill this special session could end today with this as a response to an overbearing court and a reassertion of legislative powers.

Report from Topeka, June 29, 2005 (afternoon edition)

A second report for today from Karl Peterjohn of the Kansas Taxpayers Network.

The senate Republicans have weighed in and made a significant impact today. A majority of the GOP Senate caucus met with their leadership and made it clear that they would not be involved in other votes on school finance until the constitutional amendment protecting legislative powers issue is resolved.

This is important for a number of reasons. It is a message to the Senate President Steve Morris and the rest of the leadership that their positions are in some jeopardy without keeping a majority of the GOP caucus behind them. Second, it provides leverage for some house Democrats who would like to vote for a constitutional amendment but are being pressured behind the scenes by their leadership starting from the governor's office and working its way down that want to keep the Democrats together (only one house D voted for the amendment last weekend) but some members do not want this to be locked into a position defending the court.

Since 84 votes are needed to pass any constitutional amendment in the house and there are 83 Republicans some Democrats will have to vote for this amendment since there are at least a handful of die-hard liberals led by lawyers Tim Owens and Ward Loyd who have publicly criticized on the house floor the senate passed amendment protecting the legislature's fiscal powers in the strongest words possible. Any amendment would go to the voters in August.

Report from Topeka, June 29, 2005

Thank you again, Karl Peterjohn of the Kansas Taxpayers Network, for your insights into the Kansas Legislature's special session.

The legislative special session is going to reach a crucial turning point today at the Kansas statehouse.

A group of tax and spend Republicans, lead by Rep. Ward Loyd, Rino-Garden City met with Governor Sebelius and received her blessing for a $161 million school finance spending bill that will be debated and voted upon in the Kansas house today. Last year, Loyd begged Democrats to re-register before the August primary so they could vote for him in his tough primary race. Loyd barely won that contest.

If this spending bill passes the legislature will have begun surrendering their fiscal authority to the Sebelius dominated Kansas Supreme Court. While Governor Sebelius only appointed one of the current six judges on the court, Justice Carol Beier, her chief of staff is married to another judge on this court, Justice Donald Allegrucci. In addition, Governor Sebelius has been working to enact the court's $1 billion edict to increase school spending in the Montoy school finance case. In April, the governor endorsed the school districts position opposing the $142 million school spending increase approved by the 2005 legislature and which became law without the governor's signature. She is backing the court's usurpation of fiscal power in this state by her actions.

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