State of the States
Few Details on Aid Fix in Governor’s Address
To the disappointment of many observers, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ 2005 State of the State Address did not include specific recommendations for dealing with the school finance dilemma facing Kansas legislators.
On Jan. 3, the Kansas Supreme Court unanimously declared the state’s school aid system insufficient, and gave lawmakers until April 12 to fix the problem. ("Kansas Court Orders School Finance Fix," Jan. 12, 2005.)
Using her Jan. 10 speech to issue a broad call to action rather than concrete measures, Gov. Sebelius, a first-term Democrat, told the Republican-controlled legislature that “we must strive for real improvement, rather than employing rhetorical devices that the court might well reject.”
Ms. Sebelius expressed disappointment with the legislature’s failure to approve the school spending packages she proposed last summer in an effort to stave off such a ruling. “But this is a new year,” she said, “and a new legislature. We do not have the luxury of failing to act.”
The governor’s fiscal 2006 budget proposal, which was drawn up before the court’s decision, calls for an .06 percent increase in K-12 aid, to $2.4 billion. The current per-pupil spending would remain unchanged from the previous three years, at $3,863.
Vol. 24, Issue 19, Page 18