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Ciboski: Money Will Not Solve Low Performance Problems

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled earlier this fall that funding of K-12 schools is inadequate and unfair. The ruling also ordered that funding be more fair in distributing state funding so that students in poorer districts have the same educational opportunities as students in the more affluent districts.

The court also ordered that a new school finance formula be created before April 30 to give the court time to review it before the annual budget is prepared and before the schools run out of money. They also said that the state needs to satisfy the court by June 30, 2018, that the state’s financing of education is in compliance with the Kansas constitution on the question of adequacy of money and equity, which concerns the fair distribution of funds to both poor and more affluent districts.  

The case known as Gannon v. Kansas has been with us since November 2010. This prompted Sen. Julia Lynn, a Republican from Olathe, to say that she thinks there will “never, ever be enough money” to satisfy the court. Several state senators, including Senate President Susan Wagle, also said the court’s ruling shows disrespect for the legislative process and puts the funding of other state programs in jeopardy.

I agree with those who say we will never get to the business of working on the real reasons for the low academic performance of many K-12 students so long as the thinking is that providing more money will solve those low performance problems.

Dr. Ken Ciboski is an associate professor emeritus of political science at Wichita State University.