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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • School funding amendment moves another step forward

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  •  State Sen. Caryolyn McGinn is not thrilled about the idea of the legislature taking total control of school funding through a constitutional amendment. She voted against an amendment to the state constitution that would give the legislature total authority over funding, and not allow the courts to make decisions about the constitutionality of how much money schools receive.?The amendment proposal comes after the state was ordered, a second time, by the courts to increase funding for schools. The state has appealed, and in the meantime some want to change the constitution. To do so requires a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate, and voter approval.?The bill has passed the Senate, and could pass the House. If it passes the House the amendment will go to voters in an August 2014 primary election. McGinn made a motion to move the vote to the general election in November, but that was voted down.?"I don't have problem with allowing citizens to vote for something, but the last time we voted on an education issue was 1966 and it was on general election ballot," she said.?In primary elections usually less than 20 percent of voters go to the polls.?"We are talking about the education of our children," she said. "What would another couple of months hurt?"?She believes in keeping the balance of the three branches of government.?"I do believe in checks and balances even though I do believe we (the legislature) are the ones who need to be funding schools," she said.?She doesn't think the courts should put an amount on how much should be spent, but she thinks it is the court's job to decide whether the state's actions are constitutional.?The legislature has already put forth one constitutional amendment that would change how judges are selected. The change would allow the Governor to appoint judges instead of by popular vote as it is done now.?Once judges are in office they are there for life, or until they retire. McGinn said supporters of the amendment should realize eventually it will be someone else picking judges.?She said there are a lot of Senators going along with the governor on his agenda.?"So far it looks like there are 27 that are doing whatever the governor wants them to do," she said.?The House has not taken a lot of votes yet, not as many as the Senate.?State Rep. Don Schroeder, R-Hesston, said the House also has a version of the proposed amendment to the constitution, but it may settle on the Senate's version.?He isn't sure if it will pass the House.?State Rep. Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, did not respond to a request for comment prior to deadline for publication. 

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