Kansas tax cuts: The ghost of decisions past

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Opinion

March 27, 2018 - 11:00 PM

This is the worry:

Kansas legislators will be convinced the price tag to improve state schools is so out of reach that they will propose changing the state constitution to lower the bar regarding student scores and graduation rates.

Ever since a requested report put the price tag at $1.7-$2 billion in additional funding, conservative legislators have said it’s impossible without severely impacting all of the state’s other functions.

No, they haven’t put pencil to paper. No, they haven’t considered the sacred cow, property taxes.

Instead, they’ve primed the pump for outrage and have a constitutional amendment sitting ready in the wings.

The revised version would drop the requirement that public schools provide a “suitable” education.

Instead, they’ll want us to settle for good enough.

Just as when you review job candidates, good enough is the goal, right?

Your daughter’s boyfriend; a little rough, but no worries. Sure.

When shopping for a new car, no need for a test drive.

Same for our schools, that clunker model still makes it around the corner. Stop your complainin’.

THE OTHER motive to removing any qualifying factors is that it closes the door on school districts being able to file lawsuits claiming they are being shorted the necessary funds.

Conservatives loathe the Kansas Supreme Court’s ability to be the final arbiter.

So up crops the Kansas Coalition for Fair Funding, a generous-sounding name for a group whose goal is anything but.

The KCFF is telling legislators there’s no time to lose on amending the state constitution in order to prevent any future school lawsuits.

Changing the constitution requires a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and Senate to make it on the November ballot.

Conservatives say school legal battles will only continue unless a constitutional amendment deprives them of that right.

Nonsense.

What will stop the lawsuits is adequately funding our schools. Not to the detriment of our roads, prisons, and health care services, but in addition to, which would have been possible all along had legislators not so drastically cut taxes five years ago.

These lessons are hell to pay, right?

— Susan Lynn

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