Wednesday, July 06, 2005

State Rep Candy Ruff (D-Leavenworth) stands firm

According to the Leavenworth Times, she opposes the amendment:
For one thing, she said, a constitutional amendment doesn't solve three basic concerns.

"We still have a constitutional obligation to provide suitable provisions for public school funding," she said. "That's not going away, no matter what kind of amendment we have. There also still has to be an equitable way to distribute the money and a fair way to give it, based on some kind of outcome-produced method, showing the money is going to do what it should do."

A number of legislators, including [Kenny] Wilk [(R-Lansing)], have criticized the Supreme Court for relying on the 2001 Augenblick & Meyer study as a basis for education funding.

"The court acted on the evidence that was before it," Ruff said. She's talked to constitutional professors from both Washburn and the University of Kansas and they've commented on the poor performance state attorneys made presenting evidence to the court.

"Conservatives continue to deride the Augenblick & Meyer study," she said, "but that's all they had before them. They are crying that they've lost the legislative prerogative to appropriate money, and it's as if they're intentionally not paying attention to what the court said."

Ruff said they're hoping to convince the court a legislative post audit study on education courts would be preferable. The study would be accepted by the Legislature, she expects.

"We all trust the legislative post audit people," she said. "They have a tremendous amount of credibility."

She thinks that study will provide some honest education funding numbers.

"But I think one of the realities we'll have to face, which will be tough for Democrats, because we're going to have to look at low-enrollment weighing and we'll have to look at school consolidation," Ruff said. "That will start splitting us along geographical lines and it'll be a tough fight."

Ruff said Attorney Gen. Phill Kline asked the Supreme Court Thursday afternoon for a continuance, since Friday was the court's deadline for a plan. The court did not grant it.

Meanwhile, a coalition of Democrats and some Republicans have been working on a plan for which Ruff believes there will be support.
Again, the only evidence offered of what it would cost to fund an adequate education was this study. Both sides used it, and it's all the courts could possibly review. If people think they can offer an adequate education for less money, let them bring evidence that less money will be suitable and sufficient.