Hensley: Bipartisan support leads to resolving school equity issue

 By Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka

The 2016 special session adjourned late Friday evening after passing a plan that resolves the school finance crisis surrounding equity. The plan received bipartisan support with every Democratic legislator voting in favor of it.

This effort reminded me of a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that I recited during Senate floor debate, “There is no limit to what can be accomplished if it does not matter who gets the credit.”

Democrats were committed to working to find a solution from the very beginning with a petition to call for a special session and the roll out of a school finance plan that served as a blueprint for the final bill.

However, our goal all along was to bring people together to find a responsible solution that puts Kansas students first and keeps schools open without making cuts to classroom funding or relying on yet another raid of the highway fund. And, that’s exactly what we passed.

But, while we were successful in the special session, there is still much more work to be done.  We need to create a new school finance formula that adequately and fairly funds our schools.  The new formula must also provide a quality education for all children, regardless of their parents’ income or where they live, while reducing our state’s reliance on local property taxes to finance their education.

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