Daily Archives: Jan. 11, 2013

Of course the state lost school-funding lawsuit

It was no surprise that a three-judge panel ruled Friday that state funding for public schools is unconstitutionally low. After all, the Kansas Supreme Court reached the same decision in 2006, and the state agreed to a significant funding increase. But when the recession hit, the state began abandoning that promise and cutting spending, to the point where per-pupil base aid is now lower than it was in 2006. The Brownback administration and many lawmakers have acted as if that earlier court ruling never happened, and they no doubt will appeal this case to the Supreme Court. But why would the result be any different this time?

Ranzau won’t rest on Agenda 21

What might have been a routine contract approval at Wednesday’s Sedgwick County Commission meeting turned into a 30-minute debate revisiting the county’s participation in a $1.5 million regional planning process, with Commissioner Richard Ranzau (in photo) renewing his objection to the United Nations’ old Agenda 21 document and warning that the “sustainable development ideology” could turn Kansas into California. “We are doing exactly as we’re instructed by our masters in Washington, D.C., one of which is the EPA,” Ranzau said. That brought a welcome push-back from Commissioner Dave Unruh, who chairs the Regional Economic Area Partnership, which is coordinating the planning. “I find that offensive and repulsive that someone would suggest that elected officials in south-central Kansas have some foreign master hidden behind somewhere that is telling us what to do, is controlling our thoughts, controlling our actions,” Unruh said, urging Ranzau to “tone down the rhetoric.” But Ranzau spoke for nearly five minutes more as he criticized the “attempt to deny reality” about Agenda 21, which he called a “business plan” that was “created by a group of socialists for socialists.” As Unruh and the other two commissioners who support the planning stressed, any decisions related to the grant will be made locally. But people should expect sustainability, planning and Agenda 21 to take more flak this year, including at the Statehouse.