Daily Archives: Aug. 14, 2013

Funding shortfall causing pressure on school taxes

The Wichita school board voted this week to keep the local property-tax rate flat, but other school districts haven’t been able to do that. Hutchinson is raising its taxes this year by 4.439 mills to offset funding cuts and cost increases, the Hutchinson News reported. “We estimate that our local taxpayers are paying 6 mills more than they should because the state is not paying equalization aid like it should,” said Lori Blakesley, director of fiscal management for the Hutchinson school district. Statewide, equalization aid this year is about $74 million less than the statutory requirement.

Praise in Wall Street Journal for Brownback’s judicial plan

“Hell hath no fury like a lawyer scorned, or so it seems in Kansas, where Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is taking abuse for having the temerity to select a judicial nominee for a vacancy on the state’s Court of Appeals,” wrote Collin Levy in a piece headlined “Judicial Showdown in Kansas” in the Wall Street Journal’s Political Diary. Levy defended Brownback’s decision not to release the names of judicial applicants, and said the state’s new process mirrors the federal model and “couldn’t be less radical.” There was also this context: Opposition “groups are in battle stance because they fear Kansas’ partial abandonment in March of the so-called Missouri Plan for selecting judges could have a domino effect in other states. The plan, which uses a commission comprised mostly of lawyers to handpick judicial nominees, has been falling out of favor in many states that have seen the supposedly nonpartisan process push their courts to the left.”