The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


January 24, 2014

Other Views: Waiting on courts

— With all due respect to Kansas’ Supreme Court justices, they need to wrap up their decision on the pivotal lawsuit over state spending on public schools so the Legislature can get on with business.

Some legislators might opt to ignore the decision anyway, but the issue of public school spending — along with the larger state budget — seems suspended while everyone waits in anticipation of the ruling. The 2014 session of our part-time Legislature has begun, and, typically lasting just three months, the business of government needs to proceed. Public education being a huge chunk of the state budget, most all other fiscal decisions — if not the whole legislative session agenda — are contingent on this ruling.

The decision, we keep being told, is due any day now. This lawsuit is the latest in a long saga pitting school districts against legislators and the governor over how much money is sufficient to fulfill the state’s constitutional guarantee for adequately financing its schools.

The last round of litigation concluded in 2006, when the state Supreme Court attempted to put a figure to it based on studies the Legislature had commissioned. The legislative branch complied at that time, though much to the displeasure of some lawmakers who thought the judicial branch was overstepping its authority.

The public school system got a financial boost out of that litigation, but when the economy collapsed a few years later, legislators rolled back spending. Then, when budgets weren’t restored after the economy rebounded enough to pay for deep cuts to income taxes championed by Gov. Sam Brownback, school districts went back to the courts.

The state’s basic aid to schools per pupil for the 2015 fiscal year is $3,852, down from a peak of $4,433.

And so now we wait.

The current lawsuit was filed more than three years ago. It worked its way through a lower court first, and the state Supreme Court heard arguments back in October.

Of course, the courts often seemingly work at a snail’s pace, and maybe this delay is one way for the courts to prove a point about their own budget cuts at the hand of legislators. But time is of the essence in this case.

— The Hutchinson News

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  • Other Views Other Views: Eroding court’s authority

    While Kansans were focused on the twists and turns of school finance this past week, lawmakers made an unnecessary and historic change in how the state’s district courts operate, coercively tying the reforms to badly needed funding.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Travesty

    What a travesty that a terrific young man from Spain is on the verge of deportation even though he has proven his worth in America (Globe, April 13).

    April 18, 2014

  • Your View: Astonishing transformation

    The transformation of the Republican Party in the last decade is astonishing.

    April 18, 2014

  • Your View: The changing view

    It is heartbreaking to hear the decades old trees (which border on South Pennsylvania in Webb City) cracking and being bulldozed down.

    April 18, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our View: Safe and sound

    Of the 7,500 Joplin and Duenweg homes hit by the 2011 EF-5 tornado, fewer than 20 percent of them had basements.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other Views Other Views: Funding for state’s roads

    Missouri is finding there is no good alternative to growing the economy, adding new well-paying jobs and expanding the tax base.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Geoff Caldwell, columnist: Government without apology or explanation

    Americans feel closest to their Uncle Sam at this time of year as he extends his hand for his “fair share” to fund his numerous endeavors.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Step aside

    The people of Joplin made it clear they wanted change at City Hall with their decisive votes to replace two council members.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Serious drawbacks

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) lays out clearly and persuasively the serious drawbacks with so-called right-to-work legislation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Free choice

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) regarding right-to-work seems to assume that if workers are given the choice of joining a union, they won’t join.

    April 16, 2014

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