October 24, 2014

SFFF sues the state of Kansas

Attorneys for Schools for Fair Funding, a lobbying group that successfully sued the state for additional school funding in 2005, has filed a new lawsuit against the state of funding.

The group, which includes Gardner Edgerton USD 231, alleges that Kansas public schools are not being funded adequately and are denying Kansas children the right to an education.

The case was filed in Shawnee District Court in Topeka. Chief Judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals, Gary Rulon, will assign a three-judge panel to hear the case.

The lawsuit does not ask that Kansas’ existing school finance formula be scrapped. However, John Robb, one of two attorneys representing SFFF, said in a press release that the current formula needs to be fully funded.

“Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The formula doesn’t need to be abandoned in some smoke and mirrors, illusory change. No formula will work if it is not adequately funded,” Robb said.

— Danedri Thompson

Comments

  1. Well, USD 231 School Dist. can take their highest school tax mill levy in the whole state for numerous years and this lawsuit, USD 231 Dist. being the only school district in Johnosn County to be a part of this, and put both of them in their back pocket as far as I am concerned.

    A little over a week ago I sent an e-mail to Mr. Gilhaus of USD School Dist. 231 requesting to know the number of dropouts we have had for each of the past 5 years and to be advised of how many kids we have in alt school right now.

    Education has always been a priority for me and I feel education of our citizens will help them more than about anything I can think of. I have supported education and its costs my whole life. So naturally the dropout rate and knowing how many kids are going to alt school would very much interest me and I automatically thought my own school district would be more than happy to answer my questions on these two items.

    Well, Mr. Gilhaus told me he would answer my questions but it will COST me. He advised I would have to pay $15 per hour for research time and then a copy charge of $.25 per copy. He advised I could possibly be looking at 8 to 10 hours of research time to just answer the question on dropouts which would amount to between $120 to $150. He did advise the number of students in alt school which is 23 Seniors and 11 Juniors.

    I went back to Mr. Gilhaus advising I would think he would apply some common sense to this issue and asked him to get back to me on this and I gave the School Board a carbon copy of that e-mail. In the meantime I send an e-mail to the School Board asking them if I came to one of the Board Meetings and asked this question about dropouts, they would be telling me they would be charging for the answer to that question. Mr. Ragan, President of the School Board, with a carbon copy to the other Board members, advised I would have to pay these charges.

    Well, then my ole brain that evidently was in a slowdown mode, came alive and it told me this dropout rate surely is reported to the state each year and this information should have been readily available to Mr. Gilhaus by these reports he gives to the state. I then called the Kansas Dept. of Education and spoke to a person in the statistical department and that person advised me USD 231 School Dist. most definitely reports this dropout information to their department every year and is required to do so. The reporting period is Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 of the following year. They then showed me where I could get this information off of their website and based on the information submitted by USD 231 School Dist. here is the dropout rate for the past 5 years:

    2004-2005 4 Dropouts
    2005-2006 5 Dropouts
    2006-2007 6 Dropouts
    2007-2008 30 Dropouts
    2008-2009 38 Dropouts

    Aren’t you glad I am giving you this information for free rather than being charged $120 to $150 by your school district.

    I hope you can understand how I feel about this whole scenario. Back in 2006 Tom Mertz, a past president of USD 231 School Dist., advised me he was not concerned with kids dropping out of school since WE need more unskilled labor. I find this Board to be no more ethical and I really don’t think dropouts are at the top of their priority list nor do they really care about citizen support as evidenced by their arrogant handling of my simple question – that is my opinion.

    So citizens, you might want to think about this and come to your own conclusions. Does your school district administration and School Board work for you or are you merely an ATM machine for them? Lots of good teachers in this district and other employees but I am not going along with this bull hockey treatment of a citizen. I will now work even harder for the combining of the Spring Hill, Gardner/Edgerton and DeSoto school districts which to me would reduce costs and eliminate administrators and School Boards that operate in this manner because I don’t deserve them.

  2. It’s called greed. They’ll never have enough.

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