Bruce D. Baker Profile picture
Apr 4, 2018 17 tweets 9 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
One need only look to the south (OK) and west (CO) from Kansas to see the potential consequences of weakening or eliminating constitutional protections and court oversight of equitable and adequate funding for schools! #ksleg #ksed
I have come to see the current Kansas governance structure, constitutional language and judicial oversight as a model for others to follow! This includes steps #ksleg has taken over the years to understand their fiscal responsibility (cost studies) #ksed
What's so unique? Special about KS school finance? FIRST - the 1960s Article 6 established a fourth gov't branch (State Board) w/constitutional authority to set & oversee standards, while tasking #ksleg w/making "suitable provision." #ksed (thoughtful balance!)
The Kansas judicial branch, appointed and retained in such a way as to maintain their independence, has effectively overseen and mediated the balanced roles of #ksleg and state board, while considering legal challenges to equity and adequacy over the years! #ksed
Proactively, in the late 1990s, KS Gov appointed task force which laid out recommendations that the legislature pursue a study to better understand the costs of meeting constitutional obligations. And the legislature did! (Augenblick 2002 Study) #ksed #ksleg
While #ksleg shelved that study, court in Montoy used it as guidance. Without the study, without guidance, the court would have had more difficult time a) determining compliance and b) providing guidance. Evidence matters. #ksed
Even when #ksleg pursued additional cost estimates (later rounds of Montoy), they did so competently & responsibly, tasking Division of Post Audit with new study, who then hired top notch researchers from Syracuse. #ksed
Now, this second, 2006 study considered costs of achieving desired outcomes in part b/c court so ordered that any new study of cost done by #ksleg must duly address SBOE standards/outcomes. Thus a cost model approach! #ksed
therein lies the delicate, unique balance of Kansas school governance that has kept Kansas from being OK (not okay!) or CO! Following Montoy order and '06 LPA study, legis altered formula and infused additional funds! #ksed #ksleg
While the next few years were pretty rough - at least KS, unlike OK, CO or some other states, was at a reasonable (albeit not constitutional in state context) level. KS was not in complete collapse. #ksed #ksleg
With the Gannon ruling, and now dated empirical evidence from prior studies, #ksleg sought new empirical evidence re: costs of their constitutional obligation (w/respect to SBOE standards). Again, #ksleg approached this task w/integrity and competence! #ksed
The new empirical evidence (WestEd/Taylor model) provides useful information for understanding the link between standards, and the costs of meeting them. Few states have such rich, rigorous information to guide policy. #ksed #ksleg
The ongoing balance of judicial oversight, and independent roles of the state board and #ksleg, coupled with #ksleg willingness to place meaningful empirical evidence on the table is, in my view, the way better policy is made. #ksed
It would indeed be foolish, and likely disastrous in the long run, to disrupt this balance by undermining judicial authority and sidelining the state board's authority. #ksed #ksleg
Gannon ruling on the delicately, thoughtfully balanced roles in KS governance:
More from Gannon:
Assign to the hashtag #WhatsNOTtheMatterWithKS?

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