The Kansas Education Cartel, a System Gone Amok
by Allen Williams
Recently, I received a survey from a member of the Kansas legislature. Although I'm not a constituent of this particular legislator, I thought it beneficial to provide some incite into some of the problems the state faces because of an out-of-control public education system and the legal gadflies it supports..
The principle issue, as I see it, is whether or not Kansans are going to continue to allow the education system, in conjunction with the state judiciary, to dictate fiscal policy in Kansas. Currently, public education costs account for over 50 percent of the state's budget expenses and closer to 60%, if higher education is included.
Alan Rupe and his team of gadflies make their living suing the state legislature over what constitutes ‘a suitable education’ according to the Kansas constitution. KCUR reports on the 2010 Gannon Case: “The cost of pursuing these constitutional rights has cost school districts a bundle. Since the Gannon case was filed, the 43 school districts involved have paid $3,536,734 in legal fees to Robb and his partner, attorney Alan Rupe from Wichita. The bills are paid by the group Schools For Fair Funding, with larger districts, like Kansas City, Kansas, paying a bigger chunk.”
NONSENSE! The costs are ultimately borne by the Kansas taxpayer through endless taxes to support the education cartel. The legislature has been sued consistently since 1972! It’s a sweetheart deal for the state’s lawyers, who not only select the judges that they appear before but write the school funding formulas as well, And this includes former legislative members such as Senator John Vratil who also was an education consultant while heading up the Kansas Senate back in the 90’s. No conflict of interest there. And aren’t 293 school districts a bit much for a state with only, 2, 853,118 residents? District totals are down only negligibly from 303 districts over the last 20 years.
Isn’t it about time the state legislature starts representing its citizens rather than the education cartel and its special interests? Until the legislature finds the fortitude to remove the ability of public schools to sue lawmakers, the perennial fiscal crises will continue.
Removing lawyers from the judicial selection process and placing that responsibility with the governor as other states with adjoining confirmation by the Senate will return local government to the people and strengthen the rule of law.
The Kansas legislature can provide better options for educating the state’s children by seeking advice from new education secretary Betsy DeVoss.
The following underlined items are the principal topics of the 2017 Legislative Survey
Taxes and Services - Where should these cuts apply? K12 education, Universities (KU, KSU, etc), community colleges, Road construction and maintenance, Corrections and Public Safety, Parks & Wildlife, Kan-Care, All of the above, None of the above..
Response: ALL of the above:
Should the state continue to cut income taxes and pursue the “March to Zero” income taxes proposed by Governor Brownback?
Response: Only if Kansas has recently acquired a gold mine or struck oil in the state. Income taxes should remain low as practicable but zero income taxes infers a ‘Fair Tax’ which translates to a 25% or greater Flat Tax. Instead, how about eliminating 50+% of the state’s budget for public education?
Education – Should taxpayer dollars be spent on private, parochial, or for profit charter schools?
Response: Absolutely not, but rather relief should be provided by reducing real estate taxes for parents with children in private or charter schools. Punishing citizen's whose children do not attend public schools has long been a cherished tradition of those who support the education cartel.
It is sheer lunacy that the state's taxpayers must provide education in 81 different languages as any part of a ‘suitable education.’ In Wichita, Refugee Resettlement Watch reports: “The district has more than 350 students from other countries and 160 from other U.S. states who speak minimal English. Currently, 81 languages are spoken in the district, The Wichita Eagle reported. It has 11 classrooms spread throughout the district devoted to teaching recent immigrants and refugees....Because federal law requires schools to provide information to parents in their preferred language, an Arabic speaker is on call to help teachers and others communicate with families.”
Given the current education boundary conditions, there can be NO rational solution to the state’s education malaise. Education should be privately funded.
Are classroom sizes in your neighborhood school too big, too small, etc
Response: This question is rhetorical and distracts from the real issue of funding.
Should guns be allowed in campus buildings and classrooms on college campii
Response: Absolutely. Neither Kansas nor colleges have the authority to regulate the second amendment to the US Constitution. The Columbine high school shootings were implemented in classrooms, further evidence that common sense is long dead in America.
Should legislators in Topeka block local elected officials ability to perform their duties…
Response: Yes, this becomes necessary to ensure uniformity of state law so people use the correct bathroom, that one particular ethnic group doesn’t get special privileges and that ownership restrictions are equitable throughout the state.
Should school board, community college, and city council races be elected as Republicans or Democrats in partisan elections?
Response: Shouldn’t republicans and democrats be willing to be defined by the respective values they campaigned on? The whole notion of non-partisan elections is to deceive the public into believing that somehow dropping the ‘D’s and ‘R’s from candidates eliminates the politics, is not divisive and produces better results. Nonsense! It’s just a convenient means for someone to hide their dismal voting records from the electorate.
Health care - Should Kansans expand Medicaid (Kancare) to reach more Kansans living in poverty?
Response: Shouldn’t we be able to tax ourselves into prosperity? Expanding Kancare will only result in the further impoverishment of Kansas citizens paying endlessly into a white elephant health system for the express benefit of a small minority.
Uncork - What products should be available at grocery or convenience stores.?
Response: It is not the government’s responsibility to dictate what grocery or convenience stores may sell in a democracy, that is determined by the free market. Any and all legal products may be sold. Simply because businesses must have a liquor license to sell alcohol doesn’t give the state the right to dictate what stores may offer. I, for one, have had quite enough of Kansas fascist rule.
Which taxes would you least mind increased (choose all that apply) Reinstate the pre-2012 tax structure, LLC income tax increase, restore 3rd income tax tier, end Brownback’s March to Zero”, Cigarettes and Tobacco products, E-cigarettes, Beer and Wine, Liquor and Spirits, Vehicle, Real Estate, Income tax surcharge, Sales Tax on Services, Sales tax excluding groceries, Sales tax on all items, None of the above, all of the above.
Response: None of the above. As I stated earlier, the legislative solution is always more taxes. However, the only workable solution is to rid the s tate budget of 50%+ of education cartel expenses. If you’d like some justification, I’d suggest you read about the education abuses both in Kansas and throughout the nation in our Public Education section.
The school funding issue isn’t about Kansas education but rather its intention is the mind conditioning of a future generation of globalists. The state has no business funding education; It is better served by private, religious and home schooling efforts. But for the supposed common good, it becomes necessary that a cadre of unelected unaccountable judicicrats dictate policy. It was the Kansas Montoy decision that inaugurated the judiciary as both legislative and judicial authority in the state’s new order. In its decision the Kansas courts ordered the state legislature to fund Kansas schools with a billion dollars of new money heralding the end of self-government and the advent of unbridled fascism.. .
The greedy Kansas school system with its under par education programs of common core and the like will continue to ravish Kansas citizens until they have garnered the entire state budget. Rest assured, there is NO SCHOOL FUNDING FORMULA that can be devised that will break the education litigation cycle. The ability to control the price for the goods or services an organization provides is the hallmark of a cartel.
Kansas citizens may look forward to further exploitation by its state legislature and being driven further down into serfdom by a legislative body that is incapable of discerning reality or protecting its citizens.