The Kansas City Star editorial board is changing its tune on school funding gluttony. Once
content to demand a never-ending buffet of taxpayer money to satiate teacher’s unions, the Star now suggests the Kansas Supreme Court should close the dining room.
In a July 21 editorial, the board suggests “Kansas should press pause in battle over school funding.” Directed at members of the Kansas Supreme Court, the Star says, “At the same time, the judges must be keenly aware that taxpayers’ ability to pay for education has a limit.”
The board asks the Kansas Supreme Court to give the recently-adopted school funding formula time to work, and says any decision that requires more tax hikes would be “an extraordinarily aggressive” one.
That’s hardly the tune the editorial board sang during 2016, an election year. There was no dollar amount Star editorial writers thought the schools should be denied. Ultraconservatives, Star editorial writers intoned in editorial after editorial, were chintzy with school funding and poor children were suffering.
“…Voters can send a message to (Brownback) and his ultraconservative supporters this year: Kansans are tired of the status quo, tired of their public schools being threatened…” a June 25, 2016, editorial reads.
Prior to a Supreme Court-ordered special legislative session last summer to address school funding, stompy editorial writers mocked superintendents from Blue Valley and Shawnee Mission. The two large districts in Johnson County were likely to see a funding cut so property owners in Wichita would receive a property tax reduction.
“The budgets of Johnson County schools plus more than 90 other districts in the state might take a short-term hit so a larger number of school districts are constitutionally funded,” a June 20 editorial reads. “Don’t like that answer? Elections this year will give voters in Johnson County and the rest of the state ample opportunities to change the Legislature. It’s time to put the futures of Kansas children ahead of the tax-cut mania that grips too many GOP lawmakers in Topeka.”
Today’s editorial board still regularly mocks and belittles the efforts of Kansas conservatives. The primary difference between now and then is it’s not an election year. There are no anti-free market, pro-big government types seeking state office in a few months. Star editorialists now refrain from endless fear mongering about “ultraconservatives.” It’s almost as if the Star editorial board’s agenda a year ago was ensuring anti-freedom, pro big government candidates got elected.
The editorial board has been under new leadership since the start of this year. Colleen McCain Nelson, the Star’s new editorial page vice president, said she planned to have a more balanced editorial page. Here’s hoping the trend continues. It will be interesting to see whether demands for ever more spending and tax hikes makes a return to Star editorial pages a year from now when there’s an election for state offices at stake. Will Star editorial writers demand the school funding buffet reopen for business next summer? Here’s hoping the answer is ‘no.’
The recent editorial concludes, “…Kansans can be heard at the ballot box in 2018. We’re confident voters will make a choice as wise as the state’s highest court.”