12 rural Kansas State Senators and a Senator-elect from McPherson issued a call Tuesday for House Minority Leader Paul Davis to remove John Vratil as his appointee from the Kansas School Efficiency Task Force and stop using Vratil as an education advisor on his campaign.
The statement comes on the heels of a similar call issued by Governor Sam Brownback to Davis during Saturday’s Kansas State Fair debate in Hutchinson. The governor cited statements made by Vratil that threaten the health and future of Kansas rural schools and communities.
“Calling for the forced consolidation of rural schools is essentially calling for the death of numerous rural communities,” stated Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce (R-Nickerson). “Shame on Paul Davis for surrounding himself with people such as John Vratil who seek to rob non-urban Kansans of an opportunity to succeed. I join my fellow rural Senators in calling for immediate action regarding Mr. Vratil’s role on the School Efficiency Task Force and his advisement of Mr. Davis.”
Vratil, a Leawood Attorney, told the Topeka Capitol-Journal in 2011 that, “Rural School Districts will be starved out of existence…and the sooner they realize that, the better.”
Senator Steve Abrams (R-Arkansas City), Chairman of the Senate Education Committee stated: “As Senators representing some of our state's most rural areas, we see the impact schools have on our small towns and communities. The Governor is a product of a small, rural district and knows how vital a school can be for families and economies throughout Kansas. By keeping Mr. Vratil in his inner-circle, Paul Davis is showing the people of Kansas that he supports education policies that would force the consolidation of rural school districts and the destruction of the economy in many areas.“
Rural Senators joining the Governor’s call include Senate Vice-President Jeff King (R-Independence), Senator Caryn Tyson (R-Parker), Senator Mitch Holmes (R-St. John), Senator Garrett Love (R-Montezuma), Senator Larry Powell (R-Garden City), Senator Jacob LaTurner (R-Pittsburg), Senator Forrest Knox (R-Altoona), Senator Tom Arpke (R-Salina), Senator Ralph Ostmeyer (R-Grinnell), Senator Elaine Bowers (R-Concordia) and Senator-Elect Rick Wilborn (R-McPherson).