Today the Supreme Court of Kansas issued its ruling in the school funding case known as Gannon v. State of Kansas. This latest ruling, known as Gannon V, is one in a long line of court cases that have embroiled our state for the past fifteen years. The ruling today reminds Kansans, and in particular our elected officials, that the Legislature has the power and duty to create a school funding system that complies with our Constitution. Reading the ruling, I was reminded of the words of Rory Vaden, who said “Success is never owned, only rented – and the rent is due every day.”
The rent is actually past due when it comes to funding schools in Kansas. As the Court said in its ruling today: “Suffice it to say that in our view the Kansas K-12 public education system has been inadequately funded for far too long.” Not mincing words, the ruling further stated “…[W]hile we stay the issuance of today’s mandate through June 30, 2018, after that date we will not allow ourselves to be placed in the position of being complicit actors in the continuing deprivation of a constitutionally adequate and equitable education owed to hundreds of thousands of Kansas school children.”
The courts have clearly articulated the timeline, and provided the Legislature with guidance on what must be done. Public schools in Kansas made many positive gains during the 2017 legislative session. The willingness of our elected officials to work together for the betterment of our schools, and the economy of Kansas, leaves me confident we can meet the Court’s deadline. The tireless efforts of advocates, families, and leaders from across the state affirm that we can be successful, working together. The rent for providing our children an equitable and adequate education, no matter where they live in Kansas, is past due. It’s Up to Us!