Saturday, June 04, 2005

Another court victory for education, and a blow to the "reform" movement

Another state, this time Kansas, has lost a court case over education funding. This time The Kansas Supreme Court has ordered the Republican led state legislature to fund an additional 285 million dollars, which for Kansas will be a 10% increase. The Court also threatened to require the state to add an additional 568 million dollars for the 2006-2007 school year if the legislature does not act to fix the problem.

The most telling statement was from spokesman Jan Lunsford of the Attorney General's office:

The general and his staff want the proper amount of time for a good and thorough look at it

I love the phrase "the general"

One interesting part of the ruling for those of us in Texas was this:

Mays and other Republican leaders also supported provisions of the new school funding law that would allow some districts to raise more money through local property taxes. The court struck those provisions down, saying they would increase disparities between wealthy and poor districts.

In Texas, this was the exact arguement schools were making against the school "reform" package the Republicans tried to ram through the legislature last session. Raising property taxes is the only way for school districts to get any new additional funds. However, the so called 'property rich" school districts can raise millions of more dollars this way than the "property poor" districts. This was one of the central arguements in the recent court ruling by Judge Dietz, as the state legislature had placed a property tax limit on schools. Judge Dietz ruled that such a cap creates an unconstitutional statewide property tax. He also ruled the 55% passing rule, used to determine how much money schools will get, (you'll need to go to pages 56 and 57 but it is very intersting reading) is also unconstitutional.

You can read the article from the Wichita Eagle here

No comments: