Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Bureaucratic minutiae

Kline maneuvering to keep schools open | LJWorld.com:
The State Board of Education agreed today to help the state’s top law enforcement official try to outmaneuver the Kansas Supreme Court so it wouldn’t be able to freeze funding to public schools.

The Supreme Court has announced it will consider withholding money from public schools until legislators comply with its order to provide an additional $143 million in education funding. Such a decision by the court could keep schools from opening later this summer.

Legislators missed the court’s July 1 deadline to boost school funding but plan to resume a special session Wednesday.

The Board of Education normally certifies the amount schools districts receive each month. Attorney General Phill Kline’s plan calls for the board to certify all money districts would receive for the entire academic year before the court can rule. Kline believes the court can’t prevent the state treasurer from distributing money once the amount due to school districts has been certified.
As the AP suggests, this is election-season posturing, a constructed constitutional crisis.

Remember, this is the simple chronology so far.

  1. State constitution guarantees "sufficient funding" for the schools.
  2. Legislature commissions study on how much money is necessary to meet its own definition of "adequate education."
  3. Legislature gets estimate, laughs, allocates much less.
  4. School systems sue, saying that funding is not sufficient.
  5. Judge agrees.
  6. State supreme court agrees.
  7. Legislature allocates nowhere near what their estimate says is needed.
  8. Court insists on "sufficient funding" for the legislature's definition of "adequate education."
  9. Legislature fools around with constitutional amendments, rather than working out a funding plan.
  10. Deadline passes.
  11. AG Kline steps in with his pals on the Board to circumvent the State Constitution.
Who's the activist?