The Kansas primary is five days away and as we move closer, KSN is breaking down the issues that matter to you, the voters.
The long-running school funding battle is once again a hot topic on the campaign trail, and it’s an issue the state’s next governor will have to address.
In June, the state Supreme Court ruled that more than $525 million phased in over the next five years was still insufficient because it didn’t take into account inflation.
The court gave lawmakers another year to come up with more money.
“I think the Supreme Court decision was probably the right one in this case,” explained former Ag Secretary Josh Svaty.
Svaty along with State Senator Laura Kelly pointed out since the 2012 tax cuts were overturned, the state is bringing in more money which could be used to pay for the inflation factor.
“We actually now have the revenues cash on hand to be able to take care of that accounting for inflation,”explained Kelly. “If we continue over the next years to account for inflation and adjust our budget accordingly, I think we can stay out of court.”
Kelly and Svaty said if the state continues bringing in more money, the cycle of litigation could end.
“I think the $525 million was a very good effort to get money back to K-12, and I think around $100 million this year and then another $100 million the next year will probably satisfy the court.”
Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer offered a different perspective, saying the state needs to grow its exports and attract new businesses.
“We’ve got to create an environment where we have the best education because if we have the best education, we certainly would have a skilled workforce,” explained Brewer.
Brewer also said his long-term plan includes legalizing recreational and medical marijuana with the revenue paying for schools.
“Take that revenue and invest that in schools and education because our children, we owe them the best education we can possibly give them,” said Brewer.
Brewer, Kelly, and Svaty are also facing Arden Andersen and Jack Bergeson in the primary.
The primary election is Tuesday, August 7.
Earlier this story stated the Kansas Supreme Court issued a ruling on the school finance law in May, that was incorrect. The court issued the ruling in June. The story has been corrected.