The Kansas Supreme Court last week upheld a district court ruling in Luke Gannon v. State of Kansas, requiring the state legislature to revamp the state’s education funding formula. Education experts at The Heartland Institute find a silver lining in an otherwise bad ruling, saying the decision gives the legislature an opportunity to create a new “student-centric” funding model, as opposed to the current district-centric funding model.
The following statements from education experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000.
“Implicit in the ruling of the Kansas Supreme Court – that the state must ‘properly fund’ public schools – is that the concept of ‘properly’ has been determined. I think the best funding policies for schools have the money follow the children to schools chosen by their parents. That should lead to a healthy competitive marketplace of education in which schools and students will thrive. That’s how I would ‘properly fund’ the schools of Kansas, or any other state.”
“This decision by Kansas’s activist Supreme Court, a poor one to be sure, should be considered a blessing in disguise. It has provided the Kansas Legislature the perfect opportunity to pass a universal education savings account (ESA) program before the current session ends.
“Kansas schoolchildren deserve better than to be forced to spend their days in poor-quality public schools. The goal should be to allow every parent to choose, require every school to compete, and give every child an opportunity to attend a successful school. The time to act for the Kansas Legislature is now.”
“This ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court relies on the subjective meaning of the word ‘suitable’ and its application to the equitable funding of schools. School districts always want more money, claiming the funding is not suitable or equal across districts.
“Kansas should take this opportunity to move to pure student-based funding, where every child receives an education savings account (ESA) filled with an equal funding amount. Every school would then receive equal per-pupil funding based on the students who attend that school.”
The Heartland Institute is a 32-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.