Saturday, June 25, 2005

Making a mess

House crushes Senate’s school plan |
“It’s disappointing that the House cannot pass even a modest plan to help Kansas schoolchildren and protect Kansas taxpayers,” Sebelius said on the third day of the special legislative session.

But House Speaker Doug Mays, R-Topeka, called the defeat “a pretty healthy vote.” He said the action gave leaders an indication of what members would support and what they would not.

Republicans hold an 83-42 majority in the House, but the GOP members showed stark differences over how to address a Kansas Supreme Court order to increase school funding.

Some members said they wanted to comply with the court’s minimum $143 million price tag, while others urged defiance of the court and sought ways to backhand school administrators.

The Senate approved a $161 million finance plan that includes local property tax relief. But House education committee members stripped the bill down to $11 million.

When the $11 million proposal came before the full House it was attacked from all sides.

“It does nothing to comply with the court order and the reason we are here for the special session,” Rep. Bruce Larkin, D-Baileyville, said.

And conservative Republicans said the Legislature needed to adopt a proposed constitutional amendment limiting court jurisdiction on school finance before it considered the school aid bill.
This is stupid. $11 million sure won't satisfy the legislature, and the constitutional amendment is a really dumb idea. The courts review these cases because they are a check and a balance on the power of the legislature. Stripping them of that role is a colossally bad solution to a problem that wouldn't exist if the conservative Republicans would get themselves together.

On a related note, the Senate is unable to figure out how to fund the increase in school spending.

I've got a post bubbling on what Republicans have against public education, but leave your own thoughts in the comments.

This isn't just a problem in Kansas.