The Kansas Supreme Court has indicated that if equity in school funding is not addressed by the Legislature before June 30, schools will not be able to open in August.
Should we expect that to happen?
Well, the Court could do that but the real question is why would the Legislature not deal with the order appropriately?
Does anyone really believe that Kansas citizens are going to let their legislators off the hook? Are they going to forgive a legislator that allows that to happen?
While some folks appear to be paralyzed by fear, we have more faith in the process and in the people of Kansas. Failure to address the court order and allowing our schools to close is the last thing any responsible legislator would want. And we can darn well be sure that the citizens of Kansas – the parents and taxpayers – aren’t going to stand by while their elected officials dismantle their schools.
Allowing the schools to close would be an economic disaster for Kansas communities. In many counties the public schools account for as much or more than 25% of payroll. What happens to local businesses when that amount of economic activity goes away?
What can you say about a legislator who would jeopardize the chances that a Kansas high school senior has to get into college? What would such a legislator say to the parents of a five-year-old excited for that first day of kindergarten?
Yes, some legislators – maybe many – may not be happy with the court decision. Yes, they may seek their pound of flesh in some kind of standoff. And maybe they want to test the court; to push them to the brink. But if they did and the schools were to close, how would those legislators be able to walk door to door in their quest to be re-elected? Show us the legislator who would sacrifice small businesses, force school employees onto unemployment, and deny educational opportunities to our children. What legislator wants to look into the eyes of a child’s parents and talk about “activist judges?”
Some people – even some in the education community – want us all to shake our heads, wring our hands, and cry “woe is me.” Kansas NEA is not among them.
We are planning for schools to be open. We are counting on the legislators – regardless of their ideology – to face their obligations responsibly. And we fully expect every Kansan to hold accountable any legislator who fails to stand up for our children, our schools, and our communities.
Readers should look for a mid-session review in Under the Dome tomorrow.