Governor Sam Brownback today issued the following statement to ensure that education finance legislation puts students first:
“The provision of suitable education for all Kansas students was included in our state’s constitution because Kansans know that the key to preserving our freedom relies on our ability to educate the next generation. It is our responsibility and obligation to ensure that any new education finance system improves the educational outcomes of our students and provides them with opportunities for a better future.
“I have long argued that our education finance system needs to be predicable and sustainable for both educators and taxpayers. We must ensure that these taxpayer dollars are being spent to achieve real outcomes and improve the achievements of our students.
“I appreciate the hard work of the House and Senate committees this session on this enormous and vitally important undertaking. However, I do believe there remains some room for improvement. Specifically, there a few reforms for which I have advocated throughout the past several years and have included in my State of the State addresses. I would like to see the following improvements be made to the legislation before it reaches my desk:
1. Expand educational opportunities available to the bottom 25 percent; and,2. A limitation on bond and interest aid so we can drive resources to where it is needed most, the classroom; and,3. Inclusion of a sunset date to allow the legislature to review the effectiveness of the new education finance system every five years.
“We cannot be satisfied with an education finance bill that does not address the core concern of the Supreme Court’s ruling. We must do more to improve the performance and outcomes of our lowest performing students.
“Providing Kansas parents and students with more opportunities will ensure that low performing students have the ability to move to a school that meets their specific needs. In the year 2017 we should reject the idea that a child’s zip code will determine their opportunities in the future. Innovative school programs will ensure that students who are performing in the lowest 25 percent will have the ability to find new paths to success.”