Equitable and Adequate School Funding

Chichen Itza, Mexico

I received this photograph from Alan, a colleague who, like many of us, has spent decades advocating for equitable and adequate funding for Kansas schools. Apparently, the Mayan people of Chichen Itza, Mexico found it entertaining to watch “athletes” transcend this tall stone wall while carrying a boulder, the size of a basketball. Once at the top of the wall, the goal was to propel the boulder through the stone ring affixed to the stone wall.

Alan suggested to me that our work to ensure Kansas kids have access to equitable and adequate funding (as required by our Constitution) is like traversing this wall. One has to be prepared, and have the stamina to reach the goal.

I want to thank the many advocates who demonstrate the stamina and unwavering commitment to education in our state. This last legislative session resulted in our representatives and senators coming together across political party lines to develop a new funding formula. While not without flaws, our legislators developed a formula that is structurally sound, and provides additional resources tied to the educational needs of our students.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed the bill on Thursday, June 15, which allowed the bill to advance to the Kansas Supreme Court for review.  The hearing at the Supreme Court is scheduled for Tuesday, July 18, 2017. There is anticipation, from some, that the Supreme Court will find areas of the law that need to be reworked, in order to ensure equity (all students having access to similar opportunity and resources).  There is also anticipation, by some, that the level of funding appropriated in the bill will fall short of adequacy. Still, I am grateful to the Supreme Court for allowing school districts across the state of Kansas to continue to operate while the bill is under their review.

I also want to extend appreciation to our legislators and education advocates, whose determination and stamina have returned the education of Kansas kids back to the top of the priority list. I am confident the Supreme Court will ensure the school finance law is constitutional, by maintaining oversight as any deficiencies in structure or funding are resolved. In the meantime, it’s up to us to prepare to welcome our students to a new school year, fully focused on their futures.

 

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3 Responses to Equitable and Adequate School Funding

  1. Ruth E. Jones says:

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  2. Ruth E. Jones says:

    I am the grandparent caregiver of a 4th grade student at Welborn Elementary. On Wednesday night, September 20th, while assisting her with her homework, there was a series of readings regarding the Underground Railroad. One of the questions in the reading summaries was: Can you imagine yourself being a slave or a conductor. My 4th grader and I were very offended by that question and thought it to be insensitive. I could have taken a screen shot and sent it to the media to sensationalize how minorities are still being taught. But I am not trying to start a fire storm, but wanted to let you know how a Black person perceives these types of questions, and that the Teacher, Ms. Dunn who seems to be a nice lady, and I have no complaints about, was very tone death in allowing such questions on a homework assignment. Thank you!

  3. Cindy Lane says:

    Ms. Jones
    Thank you for sharing this information. I have asked my staff to follow up with the school to understand the assignment, and to make sure that, in our teaching, we are sensitive to the experiences and sensitivities of all students in our classrooms. As we transform our teaching away from the simple memorization of facts, and towards more complex thinking, we must continue to be thoughtful about our assignments, and how they will be interpreted by our students. We will do better in the future, I promise you.

    Again, thank you for bringing this to our attention.

    Dr. Cynthia Lane
    Superintendent

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