Game On Wall Street Journal Letter to Editor

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an editorial stating that Kansas schools have plenty of funding, that “union activists” are the ones who want more, that the school districts might just waste additional funding and that if the Supreme Court orders more funding, we should quickly change judicial selection. We disagree, and here is our letter.

Regarding your editorial “Kansas Democracy Lesson” (Jan. 17): Many parents and other Kansans who are not “union activists” are deeply disturbed by cuts to our schools’ operating budgets. Yes, despite what you’ve been told, overall increases in school funding in our state have largely been for makeup payments for an underfunded employees retirement program and bond and interest payments for capital expenditures. Operating budgets are down. Teachers have been laid off, class sizes are increasing, programs have been eliminated and supply budgets are below adequate levels. Parent advocacy groups are springing up around the state to protect public education. The $4,400 number you quote from the Montoy decision wasn’t set by the Kansas Supreme Court but was determined by a consulting firm in a study commissioned by the legislature.

The statement that spending has increased but achievement has remained flat fails to recognize that Kansas, like many states, has seen a dramatic increase in students living in poverty and needing English-language instruction. A more accurate statement is that despite a 30% increase in its free and reduced lunch population and a 10% increase in English-language learners, Kansas student achievement has held steady.

Before you claim our courts are undemocratic and Kansans should let our governor select our Supreme Court justices, know that many Kansas parents are grateful to have one branch of government that can’t be bought or bullied and is bound to protect our strong public-school system, even if the majority of the 23.2% of voters in the last primary election were willing to sacrifice it on a gamble with large income-tax cuts.

Judith Deedy
Executive Director
Game On for Kansas Schools
Mission Hills, Kan.

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