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Kansas School funding needs addressed, Colyer to help

Meredith Comas, Opinions Editor

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It’s official. Sam Brownback’s economic reign of terror as Kansas governor has ended with the inauguration of the lieutenant governor — Jeff Colyer, a Johnson County surgeon and politician — as the 47th governor of Kansas.

Colyer, inducted Jan. 31, has inherited from Brownback a heap of economic problems as well as tense relationships between Brownback’s policy and fellow Kansas politicians. The new governor will be forced to mend these riffs while fixing what is seemingly the most prominent issue in Kansas: school funding.

Since Brownback’s introduction of Washington-economics in the Sunflower State in 2012 — featuring major Trump-style tax-cuts — Kansas has seen below average economic growth, opposite from the expected outcome.

Due to this economic flop, Kansas in the last few years has fallen far below national averages in public safety jobs and most notably, K-12 schooling.

Graphic by Rebekah Efken

The lack of funding in Kansas schools has left residents and students in shock at the current funding system. Students’ educations have been limited due to schools simply not being able to afford certain academic opportunities such as fine arts or in-between-level and Advanced Placement classes. Manhattan High is lucky enough to not feel the full effects of the current funding system, but there are schools and districts who are suffering quite terribly under Brownback’s system.

State school districts are being investigated for under-funding and at least four are suing the state for lack of funding; plus the current system of funding has already been found unconstitutional — Kansas obviously has an issue. Yet, the capitol has ignored this issue on funding, until recently, when Brownback announced his new plan — a $600 million boost in funding over five years — without any clear payment plan. This new plan left Brownback under fire by fellow Republicans in Kansas government.  

Now, with Colyer taking over, it is unclear whether or not he will stick to Brownback’s poorly received plan, or create his own. He is, however, quoted in the Kansas City Star saying, “I will not be responsible for shutting down Kansas schools. This is not Washington.”

But, what do the students of Kansas want to see happen with this issue? Ignore the many politicians who seem to live on unreachable clouds for a minute and listen to those living through this issue: what do students need?

It is the agreement of The Mentor editorial board that, quite plainly, Kansas needs to figure itself out. Sweeping this issue under the carpet and praying no one sees the dust pile is no longer working. It’s time for action.

Students need their education valued and secured. No more keeping the sufferers out of the conversation; approach students about what they need to see reimplemented in their schools after the tax-cuts.

In addition to student-inclusion, politicians need to get a plan for funding in action. Colyer will only have a year in office, meaning not much can be done by him, but he can get the ball rolling. Right now, the process needs started, and students are relying on Colyer to do so.

In short, Colyer needs to lay the groundwork for a constitutional and fair school-funding plan for Kansas — one that also considers the student’s needs.

It has been much too long that Kansas students have suffered from the economic irrationalities of the current system. Stop the nonsense, and start taking some action.  


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Kansas School funding needs addressed, Colyer to help