- Associated Press - Thursday, February 11, 2016

Here is reaction to the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday that a law enacted last year as a temporary education funding fix hurts poor districts:

“I think the decision is a good thing for schools across the state of Kansas. The Kansas constitution demands that schools be funded adequately and equitably. This decision affirms the constitutional demand for equity. … This is something fundamental for education in the state, so I think kids everywhere should be celebrating.” __ David Smith, a spokesman for the Kansas City, Kansas, district, which is a plaintiff in the legislation.

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“They should find a way to equitability distribute the money they are spending. In our opinion, schools have plenty of money.” __ David Trabert, president of the Kansas Policy Institute, a conservative think tank influential with GOP legislators.

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“It all comes back to the fact that districts have very differing abilities to raise revenue to fund schools because of differences in property valuation, and the court is simply saying, ‘You cannot allow those differences to exist in a way that could affect the quality of education in these different districts.’ In that sense, that has always been a key principal we have supported, and hopefully the Legislature will be able to quickly respond to this.” __ Mark Tallman, the lobbyist for the Kansas Association of School Boards.

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“It looks like it’s politically motivated because of timing, in my opinion and the courts have now interjected themselves in the business of the people and the business of the Legislature. … I just think it’s poor timing. It looks fishy.” __ Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Stillwell Republican.

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“It’s not a surprise. We are happy it is headed in that direction, although the fear still is, with the tone of the legislature and the governor, we just wait to see what the next ploy will be to defy what the Supreme Court says.” __ Dean Katt, superintendent of the Hays school district.

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“It’s essentially a temper tantrum by the courts to push their political will on the Legislature. It’s kind of one of those things, ‘Give us the money or the kid gets it.’” __ State Sen. Jeff Melcher, a Leawood Republican.

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“Once again, the Kansas Supreme Court has protected our communities, families and the individual rights of our children guaranteed in the Kansas Constitution.” __ Ryan Wright, executive director of Kansans For Fair Courts.

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“As officials evaluate implications regarding the opinion, we will continue to advocate for a funding solution that is financially sustainable, promotes greater local funding flexibility, and ensures educational excellence for all students in Kansas.” __ Shawnee Mission school district’s written statement.

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