Archive for Thursday, March 25, 2004

School patrons, teachers lobby state legislators

March 25, 2004

A group of parents, teachers and administrators from the Basehor-Linwood School District lobbied state legislators Wednesday in Topeka, voicing their support for education and additional school funding.

The Basehor-Linwood group expected to bring between 10 and 12 people to the state capital Wednesday. Pro-education groups from Leavenworth, Jackson and Brown counties joined the local group.

Education organizations such as United School Administrators (USA) and the Kansas National Education Association (KNEA) organized the lobby sessions with area politicos. In February, school district groups from Doniphan, Jefferson and Atchison counties visited with legislature.

School district officials said the purpose of the sessions is to encourage legislators to support additional education funding during this year's legislative session.

The legislature is currently wading through an assortment of proposals concerning school funding, many of which involve tax increases.

Unlike the previous two legislative sessions, there is no threat of a school funding reduction. There is, however, a fear that legislators will either deny more education funding through tax increases or hold schools "harmless," by maintaining the current level of funding.

Education funding became a key issue for the legislature to debate in December when Shawnee County District Court Judge Terry Bullock issued a preliminary finding that the state's current model for funding schools violates the rights of individuals under the Kansas U.S. constitutions. The judge pointed to a $1 billion shortfall.

The judge gave the state legislature a deadline of July 1 to bring the funding system into compliance.

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