TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Kansas lawmakers ended the regular legislative period today but it’s looking like their work is far from over. Legislators didn’t respond the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling that school funding was unconstitutional.
Senate republicans had different opinions on the issue during their caucus. While some legislators wanted to act quickly and spend an additional $40 million in state funds, others expressed their defiance of the courts.
“It’s so political,” says Committee Chairman Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican. “The court is supposed to be an apolitical entity but this is political as it gets and the consequences are with our children.”
If the legislators do not act and fix the school funding formula by the end of June, schools will close their doors. Because there was no action today, Governor Sam Brownback might have to call in a special legislative session.
“We are creating massive chaos all across the state in our school districts,” says Senator Laura Kelly. “They don’t know what to do about Summer school, they don’t know what to do about teacher contracts. I wish we would do it today.”
But some lawmakers believe that a special session could be repeat of last year where the regular legislative period stretched to 114 days to fix a budget deficit and costing taxpayers about $1 million.
“It would be silly to try to take care of this in one day,” says Republican Senator Greg Smith. “People are going to want to weigh in on this. It needs to be in a committee process. We can come up and hear testimony. Not just come up with some decision in a conference committee and throw something out there and hope it sticks to the wall.”
Some lawmakers also believe that the State Supreme Court might also take up a previously-appealed funding formula and appropriate the money that way.